- Child Development
Social Media & Stereotypes
During the 2018-2019 school year, Aspen Academy 8th graders had an opportunity to spend some time digging into the ways that social media plays a role in developing stereotypes. When many adults were in middle school, they spent time absorbing the media that was out there; however, most of our students are not only absorbing the media, but they are also creating the media through outlets such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. This means that much of the content our students consume and formulate their opinions around is created by kids and young adults just like them. What young people see and hear in the media helps them to figure out how the world works and who and what is valued in our society. This could be a frightening concept, depending on what our kids are reading and watching.
Parents and teachers may not have much control over what our students are reading and listening to when we're not around, but we are capable of having conversations around it. Something such as how men and women are depicted on television can bring up some interesting conversations. I did some personal research on how different races were depicted in magazines and found it incredibly fascinating. As an adult, it's perhaps a little easier to identify the stereotypes, but then again, maybe it's not.
Our students want to talk about the thoughts and opinions they are forming, and it's up to us to open the door and allow room for these conversations.
About the Author: Nicole Kruse is the Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute Coach at Aspen Academy. Nicole worked from 2003 to 2016 as a middle school language arts teacher before becoming the Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute coach. She feels that helping students create memories and watching students develop possibilities is one of the most worthwhile opportunities she's ever had. She loves that Aspen Academy teaches students to become lifelong leaders who think creatively, lead passionately, and live authentically.
She is from Ohio where she received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degree at Ashland University. She now lives in Denver with her husband Dustin, and their sons, Alexander and Owen.