While social media tools have the potential to create open and inclusive environments, it is important to note that they can also reinforce and lead to unhealthy behaviours such as cyberbullying, isolation, and reinforcing stereotypes. It’s important to realize that one’s experiences are impacted by one’s gender, and this can either create community or divide groups and impacts how people access public spaces, including online spaces.
Social media platforms are increasingly becoming the preferred communication tool and platform for youth. There are many different social media tools and platforms onlinem with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr allowing the users to discover, share, and publish content. This connection and discovery is happening in real time on smart phones that more and more youth carry with them.
Youth see social media as spaces where they can come together, hang out, make plans and exchange ideas and information. While social media sites continue to be places where many youth share photos, talk about what is going on in their lives, and build friendships, they are also places where youth learn about what is going on in their communities and are exposed to different perspectives. Increasingly, social media sites can be places where youth engage in dialogue about specific issues. Finally, social media sites can offer key entry points to social justice actions for many youth.