From the Counseling Department: Social Media, Instant Gratification and Grit

The Counseling Department is looking forward to educating and engaging our students on social media topics such as safety and the effects of social media in the new year. We are looking forward to events that will include a student-led "No Social Media Week" and guest speakers who focus on "Cyber Sensibility."

Social media is typically accessed by adolescents through the use of smartphones, however, social media can be accessed through iPads, laptops, and desktop computers. The top social media sites for adolescents include Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Askfm, and KiK. All of these sites provide immediate user response with real-time photo and video sharing. Impulsive posting and responses are subject to immediate viewing and reaction.

Instant gratification is a concept should not be taken for granted! Instant gratification can be thought of as a process of adolescent brain development, a process which can be “satisfied” by social media use. Adolescent brain development includes the nucleus accumbens, the reward/pleasureresponse area of the brain. For adolescents this area of the brain is well developed and highly responsive to stimuli. Couple a well devleoped reward/pleasure response with an undeveloped frontal lobe, and the result is stimulus with limited or no reason or rationale in response. Consider the response from an adolescent who made a poor choice on social media: “Why did you respond to that?”, their answer “I don’t know” is a legitimate response. Receiving “likes” or “streaks” become the reward regardless of content or context.

Grit is the process, perseverance, exploration, try/try again attitude experienced within the journey. A culture that focuses on rewarding end result or final product is at risk to a loss of motivation, the development of an inquisitive spirit, or the skills to initiate face-to-face conversation. When interaction and inquiry are rewarded as immediate as a touch to a screen, valuable opportunity for personal growth is minimized.

A resource the Counseling and Wellness Department finds helpful that further expands on the points above can be accessed by clicking here.