Sample Lesson: Social Media and the Influence on Children

Social Media and the Influence on Children

It’s socially accepted that social media has a significant role in one’s social life. Unlike adults, teens today are less likely to comprehend a social life without social media given that the access and technology to platforms have been plentiful for today’s generation. This current generation of teens, known as Generation Z, will be the first generation to enter adulthood to learn social techniques through a full integration of social technology.

It almost sounds sci-fi.

As a 31 year old educator, I often compare the vast differences between myself and the high school students I teach. As a teen, email and MSN messenger were our forms of social media. Sometimes we’d dabble in chat rooms. We were relegated to access this technology from desktops. Laptops were a rarity.

A generation later, students hold more computational power in their pockets that was even possible on the consumer level. They have instant access to information, and more importantly, their peers.

But that’s where the differences between the two generations ends. Like us, today’s teens strive to carve out their own identity while trying to be accepted by a group of peers. They seek approval, rebel when frustrated, and get anxious in anticipation of any sort of gratification.

However, technology has arguably heightened some of the insecurities and/or provided a platform for teens to voice themselves. While gratification can be a result, so can scrutiny, along with a plethora of other social issues.

With technology and the landscape of social media changing so rapidly (remember when Facebook was cool?) it’s difficult to accurately get a read on how social media is truly affecting teens.
The purpose of this lesson is to hear from students on what they think the positive and negative effects of social media has on them. Are the negative articles true? Ironically, we’re using online collaborative tools to document and assess the discussion, so really, technology can’t be all that bad.

Lesson Objective:

To make students aware of the ramifications of using social media.
Secondary purpose: Students exercise how to appropriately use technology


This lesson is best suited for a grade 11-12 English class. If implementing in a younger class, I would recommend removing the amount of articles listed in the acquire stage. The can take anywhere from 1-2 classes based on allotted time and the amount of discussion which occurs.

What the students will do:

They will be asked to debate the essential question and communicate their responses in an effective manner.

Essential Question: Does social media offer more good than harm to teens?

Secondary Questions:

• What are some ways to limit the negative effects?
• What are some ways to highlight the positive effects?
• Should parents limit a teen’s access to social media?
• Should social media sites impose strict age limits?

Technology Used:

A pre-formatted Google Document posted through either Google Classroom, Wikispaces, the class website or similar medium. Students will require access to a laptop or mobile device capable of accessing Google Doc with their appropriate login credentials (for assessment purposes). A projector and computer to display to allow the teacher to manipulate the Google Document.

Previous Instruction:

Students are asked to visit the following link, read the article, and watch the video. The video discuss social media and teens:


Pose the essential question. Ask students to discuss in groups for 3 minutes. To guide their eventual class responses, tell each group to come up with 2-3 topics. For prompts, use the secondary questions to get the discussion going. For assessment, track students who go beyond the secondary questions. Be sure to keep track of groups. You’ll have an opportunity after the three minutes. Walk around the class and make sure the students understand instruction.

After the three minutes, open up the link to the Google Doc. have students add their own thoughts to the document. Put a 10 minute limit on the task.


Pause the action and discuss what students put on the board.

Then, add the following article links to the class Google Doc [see below] along with a student response section. These articles have been copied and pasted to a Google Doc so students can easily proceed with the application phase of the lesson.

Article Links:
Influence of Social Media on Teenagers
Teen depression and how social media can help or hurt
The upside of selfies: Social media isn’t all bad for kids

Note: The documents are not editable, however, feel free to copy and paste into your own Google Drive.


Instruct each student to write a minimum of 3 comments to one or all of the articles. They may highlight a particular point or add to a particular point. If they initiate a discussion that needs raises questions, the must reasonably answer these questions.  They must also provide a response on the class Google Document. This can be done in the appropriate section or by adding to the topic chart, if a new thought or idea came from reading the articles.
Be sure to go over the highlight and comment function of Google Docs before students begin task, or take the opportunity to have a student demonstrate.


The focus of the assignment is on discussion and working through ideas as a community. While the lesson focuses on multiple aspects of the Manitoba ELA curriculum, the emphasis will be on GLO 5 “Celebrate and Build Community.”


Student followed instructions /2 marks (pass/fail)

Cooperate with Others (5.1.1) /5

Use language to demonstrate flexibility in working with others; encourage differing viewpoints to extend breadth and depth of individual and group thought.

Share and Compare Responses (5.2.1) /5

Demonstrate the value of diverse ideas and viewpoints to deepen understanding of texts, others, and self.

Use Language to Show Respect (5.1.3) /5

Recognize how language choice, use, tone, and register may sustain or counter exploitative or discriminatory situations

Create Original Texts (2.3.5) /8

Create original texts to communicate ideas and enhance understanding of forms and techniques. (The effectiveness and clarity of what they write. For example, is there evidence that the student understands the topic).

Total out of /25

The above rubric borrows language for Manitoba’s ELA curriculum.

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