Thursday, June 18, 2015

Positive Side of Social Media in High School

Social Media gets a bad name when it comes to teens. Countless stories exist of teens using social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter to bully, shame and insult their peers. We've heard of students shaming each other with unbelievably mean comments on each other's Facebook and Instagram photos. Even kids in middle school have been found to be "sexting" each other. All of these stories would lead adults to think that a complete ban of social networks is the only answer to end the negative effects of social media when it comes to our children and teens.

And then a wonderful story emerges that highlights the power of social media. A high school graduate named Konner Sauve found a way to exploit Instagram for good. During Konner's senior year at East Valley High School in Washington, he decided he would post photos of every student in his high school onto an anonymous Instagram account. In the caption of each photo Konner posted how he felt about the person.

Conner Sauve - Instragram
Conner Sauve, a high school senior in Washington used Instragram to praise his classmates

Konner wanted to give some encouragement to each teen at his high school. He wrote positive, uplifting and motivational messages. If he didn't know the student personally, he did some research in the yearbook to find out if they played a sport, were in theater or had other interests. In the end, Konner posted 657 photos to an anonymous Instagram account he called "thebenevolentone3."

No one in the school knew it was Konner who was posting these photos until his big reveal. Konner was the commencement speaker and in his graduation speech on June 6 he explained why he decided to highlight the good in all of his classmates and hundreds of other students at the school.

I love this story because it reminds us that social networks, like Instagram, can be used to boost teens' confidence. It gives us hope that there are young people who are eager to motivate their peers and inspire them to be great. Social media is still in its infancy, but I'm optimistic that we'll see more stories like Konner's in which teens use social media to find positive outcomes.

Here's Konner Sauve's final Instagram post as thebenevolentone3:

There’s a tad bit more than you thought there was, I apologize. There is one quote in particular from Maya Angelou that reads “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I find this such an inspiring quote because over the past year I saw a change occur in our high school, a positive one, it seemed as though we were more united than we had been in the past. During the summer, I made the decision to go in and try to make everyone here feel appreciated and recognized for simply being the amazing people they are. It is easy for people to be cruel over social media, so I decided to make an anonymous account on Instagram that would counteract the negativity seen today by posting a picture of each student and a paragraph of what makes them GREAT and how other people should see that too. So after 657 posts, over 11 months, and finishing each person in the Class of 2014, Class of 2016, and of course our Class of 2015, I would like to prove Jose Gutierrez right and admit that I am “thebenevolentone3” Benevolence being defined as “characterized or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings.” In the end, I realized that we are ALL the benevolent ones in our way and actions of how we treat others, it has been a wonderful year. I’ll miss East Valley. And although I part without finishing all of the class of 2017, I wish that the next generations take over and find bolder ways to express positivity and encouragement in the East Valley Community. Keep on keeping on.
A photo posted by Its About You. You're Next.☯ (@thebenevolentone3) on

No comments: