The Ever-Changing Evolution Of School Kids And Social Media

No one could’ve predicted how different the world would be today for kids, not even 10 years ago.

Stuff, an Australian tabloid online newspaper, is reporting on a new study called CensusAtSchool, which focused on surveying thousands of New Zealand school kids. Equipped with data from more than 18,000 students, the survey revealed that school isn’t the same place that adults were once accustomed to.

Wooden desks, the rote learning of time-tables and chalk boards, are just examples of what is now ancient history.

The social life that used to consist of going out after school every day with friends, has turned into thumb-moving communication. Some schools even use tablets and other fancy gadgets at school to help with learning.

The NZ School Kids Survey

CensusAtSchool, a vast-running project, not only studied thousands of students, but it also spent 11 weeks gathering data from 391 schools.

According to a Stuff New Zealand report, when the seventh round of data came along, which was taken from year 5 to 13 students, the clear picture of today’s kids started to emerge.

Census staff member and Otahuhu College teacher Anne Patel, agrees with results from the survey and also stated that there were some surprising differences from Census members’ original predictions.

For primary school kids, the survey revealed that the average student carries a 2.5-kilogram bag and snuggles into bed between 8pm and 10:30pm, eager for school the next morning. Moreover, students only carried their lunch, in addition to a couple of personal items — in their bags.

Now, for high school kids, the average student didn’t look that different than for primary school kids, according to the census survey. However, there are some differences that show a sense of independence from the older students.

Furthermore, the high school kids were primarily right-handed, they get to school by bus, enjoy art, and hit the sack by 9pm, some as late as 11:30pm.

Census data also included the average weight of their bookbags — they weigh an average of 4.1kg. Also, girls were said to carry more in their bags than the boys. One student even commented:

“When I was in year 9 I would have a [netbook], charger, books and a pencil case, but I was getting quite a sore back from carrying it around. Also I got lazy and couldn’t be bothered!”

How Social Media Is Changing School Kids

With today’s technology, such as Facebook and Twitter, one must pay attention to the significant influence it has on our kids. Whether it is for just entertainment or to socialize, students are always at risk for cyberbullying.

As Maori Television reports, the CensusAtSchool project also collected data on bullying among school kids. Cyberbullying is a very serious threat and has caused numerous teenagers to commit suicide, and sparked the infamous Amanda Todd incident.

In the CensusAtSchool project, when students were asked how strongly they agreed about each of these four threats, the survey collected the following data:

  • (36%) — verbal bullying was a strong problem among students at their school
  • (31%) — cyber bullying was a strong problem among students at their school
  • (25%) — social or relational bullying was a strong problem among students at their school
  • (19%) — physical bullying was a strong problem among students at their school

Many blogs and media reports have voiced their opinion on how cyber threats and bullying can be reduced. Parents of cyberbullying victims have shared their opinions on the subject and believe that close monitoring of Facebook accounts of school kids is one method to stop cyberbullying — curiously enough, some companies are even advertising spying apps for this very purpose.

Despite all the negative consequences of social media, technology use continues to rise among school kids. Interestingly, the Census survey picked up data that revealed a significant number of school kids below the minimum age of 13 years old to join Facebook, have an account, despite its rules.

But, if there is one positive message from the data collected, it’s definitely that family time has remained the same. According to the survey, technology has not interfered with family time or dinner time for almost all school kids.

[Photo Credit: Michael Stroud / Getty Images]