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HOT TOPIC: Is Jewish education enhanced or hindered by the use of social media?

February 26, 2013
by

Daniel A. Epstein

JEWISH EDUCATORS AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP A SOCIAL MEDIA CULTURE

My clinical experience in mental health has ignited a deep interest in studying the impact of social media use on the behavior and development of teens. A lifetime in the Jewish community and in education has shaped my approach to developing solutions. This is a particularly interesting time in the study of the interrelationship of social media and behavior because it still so new. Most of the data shows a general understanding that while there is, of course, a new world of possibilities in education, democracy, networking, and much more, there is also a host of problems associated with overuse, exposure to age-inappropriate content or activities, and harassment.

A major consideration in the prevention of negative consequences is to acknowledge a “new normal” may be forming among emerging generations. Yet, as anyone working with the youth would likely agree, something must be done to promote an experience that mitigates potential harm. This is where we, as Jewish educators, have an edge – but first we need to connect, collaborate, and get creative.

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