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Social Media

Introduction

Critical thinking contributes to the development of rational deliberation relevant to autonomous societies. Philosophically, critical thinking is approached as the norm of good thinking. It is the rational aspect of human thoughts coupled with intellectual virtues in order to approach the world through a reasonable and fair minded manner. Conversely, psychologists conceptualize critical thinking as higher order thinking skills focusing attention on appropriate learning and instruction processes. Consequently, the concept of critical thinking can be based on the functions of critical pedagogy.  Critical thinking therefore refers to the capacity in recognizing and overcoming social injustice. Based on the critical pedagogical point of view, critical thinking can emphasize that critical and democratic citizenships with educational goals ought to focus on transforming societies (Paul, 2013).

Recently, advancing technologies have been developing and expanding globally. This has led to development of the social media platform. This platform comprises of social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, My Space, YouTube, and Whatsapp among others. These social networks are utilized in communicating, integrating, conducting business, and entertaining the users. They are however misused by various users. This is because such users either ignore or fail to critically think how social media ought to be used to achieve socio-economic benefits. This research will therefore formulate a literature review focused on addressing concerns within the development of adequate instructional designs tasked in enhancing critical thinking. This is because critical thinking encourages ethical behaviors relying on principled values promoting moral behaviors and reasoning capacities (Broome, 2009).

Responsibilities of a Critical Thinker

The potential, natural and personal inclinations to exhibit critical thinking skills are based on Richard Paul’s model (Foundation for Critical Thinking, 1996). They include the following traits; independent thinking, intellectual empathy, intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, intellectual curiosity, intellectual civility, intellectual responsibility, and faith in reason. These dispositions tested on the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory (CCTDI) are truth seeking, open-mindedness, analyticity, systematic, self-confidence, inquisitive, and cognitive maturity (Paul, 2013).

Principles of Critical Thoughts in Relation to Social Media

Critical thinkers should be good listeners in order to encourage others to provide their opinions, ideas, perceptions, and viewpoints. They should always seek to understand other peoples’ interests. For example, a critical thinker and social media user should have a valid reason for selecting and posting their profile pictures. Critical thinkers should also smile often in order to warm people up. In using the internet, they should take up forms of positivity to encourage their followers or friends. Social media users seek to provide people with personal information regarding their lives. As critical thinkers however, they should ensure they provide people with just enough information raising eagerness and curiosity credibly to encourage connections without jeopardizing personal security. A critical thinker should also be honest and appreciative. For example, they should sell their values while appreciating other people doing the same thing especially across social media platforms. Lastly, critical thinkers should be genuinely interested in other people in order to develop connections. Web connections create and sustain social media. Thus, critical thinkers should maintain the connections in order to derive positive changes on personal and professional levels (Daiva, 2010).

Importance of Ethics, Moral Reasoning and Search for Truth

Moral reasoning is an individual and collective practice fostering ethical and truthful thoughts and actions that are morally upright. Philosophical examination of moral reasoning affirms that, the practice recognizes moral considerations in order to cope with conflicts. Thus, moral reasoning is a type of reasoning directed towards deciding to undertake or pursue an action successfully while issuing intention and practical reasons. Moral reasoning is also directed towards deciding what to do before forming judgment about other people and individual thoughts and actions in order to maintain morality (Mikhail, 2011). 

According to Henry Richardson 2013, societal moral reasoning faces various challenges as people often fail to be explicit. This is because people prefer reasoning tacitly which encourages members of a community to think in a similar manner without any explicit attempt to reach well-supported conclusions. In some occasions, moral thoughts and actions are developed from ill-advices in attempts to answer practical questions through explicit reasoning. Consequently, people cam mistakenly reason tacitly especially when pressured or facing an emergency (Richard, 2013).

These challenges however can be avoided and prevented. Foremost, people should acknowledge that moral reasoning ought to be based on moral facts. These facts focus on raising moral attention hence, supporting people to apply moral theory across contemporary capacities. For example, social media users ought to apply moral theory in order to be responsible. Consequently, they can accomplish to develop calm passions emphasizing moral convictions and perceived moral facts that tend to gain support through a systematic accounting process (Hauser, 2005).

Advantages of Information Technology in Gathering Data

Information technologies have shaped global societies in various ways as they have impacted social, commercial, political, and environmental perceptions among people. They use educational, entertaining, and health communication systems to develop impacts which can be positive or negative. This research will however focus on positive or advantages of information technology. Foremost, they increase production hence saving time as they engage in automate actions. Consequently, they improve levels and skills of communication using tools such as mobile phones, electronic mails, video conferencing, and other databases (Mikhail, 2011). 

As a result, social media users are enabled to pass information without interruptions creating and sustaining relations and connections fostering growth and development. Information technologies improve storage of data. For example, cloud hosting stores large chunks of commercial business data saving paper, improving accessibility and enhancing safeties. Consequently, people and organizations derive financial management as they can engage in various performances and tasks easily without feeling overwhelmed or stuck. This improves internal and external relations among the users encouraging everyone to embrace information technologies to achieve growth and development. For example, relations developing from social media usage can identify special or great deals with discounts to achieve a competitive advantage. This assures that, products and services advertised across social media platforms are standardized and high quality hence, deriving consumer satisfaction. This promotes innovation, improves entertainment, and enhances societal discoveries. Consequently, globalization of knowledge is achieved improving communication and relations (Muriel, 2000).

Literature Review

According to Anderson, Greeno, Reder, and Simon, the essence of a social constructivist educational theory can be interpreted as the process of learning to increase competency. This also encourages participation in relation to principles, norms, values, ethics, and practices associated with the moral culture of a particular community. Based on the perspective of cognitive learning theory, learning can be defined as process through which people knowledge and cognitive skills in form of transferable commodities. Thus, the social constructivist approach shifts the focus to activities and processes undertaken by people seeking to be members of a certain community. Consequently, learning is the constructive, cultural, and social process characterizing the concept of acknowledging, accepting, and appreciating. The participation metaphor therefore does justice to the fact that, learning is inextricably bound up with the process of identity formation. Hence, people do not transform into central participants in the society by acquiring knowledge and skills. They ought to practice in order to regard themselves as community members capable of taking responsibility for their actions in any position they hold at the society besides use of knowledge and skills. Thus, the learning process fosters changes through personal identity formation. Hence, incorporating identity development in defining learning is vital in discussing the effects of social media across global communities (Anderson, Greeno, Reder & Simon, 2000).

According to Paul within the Critical Thinking Foundation, there are various basic ways of gaining intellectual and moral values associated with knowing and critical thinking. These are however separate based on how people think, react, and reflects. This is because intellectual and moral merits are intimately interrelated. Thus, the cultivation of intellectual independence requires the concept of strong sense critical thinking in order to recognize the need in fostering intellectual qualities. These qualities include humility, integrity, courage, and fairness especially in thoughts and actions, empathy and perseverance among others. These qualities provide people with different thinking abilities based on a particular situation (Paul, 2013).

For example, intellectual humility is a virtue through which people acquire a consciousness with regards to the limits of their knowledge. This includes sensitivity to circumstances a person’s native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively. Thus, sensitivity to discrimination, bias, limitations, and prejudice to a person’s viewpoint is discouraged as it hinders societal growth and development. More so, it implies presence of intellectual conceit, pretentiousness, and boastfulness coupled with lack of insights in the logic foundations of a community’s beliefs. Based on social media, this can be illustrated as follows.
Students are currently attending classes accompanied by various technological devices including mobile phones accessible to social media networks. Although some teachers believe social media can be integrated in the classroom, students can affirm the platforms are distractive (Richard, 2013).

Thus, teacher’s thinking capacity that students can actually attend class, listen carefully and comprehend the concepts being taught can be regarded as misleading. However, students can offer ideas based on their own thinking capacities in attempts to justify use of social media in the classroom. They are more likely to hide the fact that they are greatly distracted which can reflect on their grades hindering their efforts to achieve individualized academic goals. Thus, the teacher and students should learn to support and encourage each other in order to device teaching and learning methods allowing use of technologies in the classroom effectively and efficiently. This is an example of intellectual humility as it arises from insights, ideas, misunderstandings, and past mistakes into the actual nature of knowing. The nature of covering school work across different grade levels and subjects also imply that, knowledge can be easily attained (Cindy & Faith, 2008).

Critical thinkers affirm that, pretending to know should be encouraged. Consequently, most instructions in real sense can be deceptive and fraudulent. For example, students across different grade levels relate with social media diversely. They have different mental growth rates and capacities influencing their day to day decisions. Thus, students at the university are more qualified in critically thinking how to utilize social media without interrupting their learning processes. Conversely, high school students are likely to sneak in to the classroom with their smart phones in attempts to chat with friends and be entertained while the educator is teaching.  As a result, teachers ought to focus on the narrow collection of well defined tasks in order to train students in executing such duties in an algorithmic fashion or routine. Consequently, they should test how students perform on the tasks. High rates of success can indicate that students have learned the powerful skills and techniques of using social media ethically and morally. Accordingly, they can believe in their skills of identifying, correcting and avoiding deceptive and fraudulent behaviors hindering their moral and ethical qualities as students (Harlan, 2014).

Intellectual courage refers to the capacity of having a consciousness in order to face and address diverse viewpoints, ideas, and beliefs towards a strong standing.  Intellectual courage is mainly linked with recognition of ideas considered either absurd or dangerous or absurd leading to false and misleading conclusions. In order to determine intellectual courage, human beings ought to avoid accepting learned concepts either passively or uncritically. This is because intellectual courage fosters truth in ideas and beliefs distorting falsity in a social group. Thus, social media users require need intellectual courage. This can empower them to remain true to their own thinking across diverse circumstances (Paul, 2013).

Intellectual empathy refers to the consciousness and the need to imagine other peoples’ beliefs and perceptions in attempts to foster friendship and community. According to Paul, this requires consciousness coupled with an egocentric tendency in order to identify truth from diverse and long standing thoughts and beliefs among people. This correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurate viewpoints enabling an individual to reason amidst assumptions, misconceptions, and misunderstandings.  Thus, students ought to develop the willingness to allow parents and teachers to monitor their social networking activities. This can protect them from harmful contents and online criminals. Consequently, they can develop ethics and principles implemented to ensure social media neither impedes nor hinders their day to day abilities. Instead, social media should support their endeavors (Paul, 2013).

Intellectual good faith or integrity refers to recognizing the need of being true to one’s own thinking ability and capacity. This requires consistent with regards to intellectual standards applied in holding individualized ideas, opinions, and perceptions. This requires rigorous standards of evidence and proof to avoid being antagonistic or easily manipulated. Thus, a critical thinker ought to practice what she/he advocates for affirming to being honestly. More so, they can admit discrepancies and inconsistencies in personal thoughts and actions. For example, ethics and moral reasoning applied by people using social media differ. This explains why social media is marred with users striving to send out rude, immoral, threatening, and harmful contents. Conversely, there are social media users with intellectual integrity. As a result, they use social media without violating the terms and conditions of using social media networking sites. However, people especially children need information to identify, avoid, and block social media users without intellectual integrity (Sneddon, 2007).

Intellectual perseverance refers to the willingness and consciousness among people in of pursuing intellectual insights and truths. This is in spite of challenges, difficulties, frustrations, and obstacles. Human beings with a firm adherence to rational principles despite presence of irrational opposition are strong willed critical thinkers. However, some people develop the sense and need to struggle with confusing concepts amidst unsettled questions for an extended period of time in attempts to achieve a deeper understanding or insights. This is challenging among people who fail to practice either critical thinking or strive to achieve personal identity. More so, such people have weak ethics and moral reasoning. This explains why global communities are blemished with peer pressure. For example, high school students believe they ought to own a smart phone in order to be accepted. Consequently, they affirm they ought to learn how to use social media in order to relate and remain relevant among the peers. This however adversely affects their personal beliefs, capacity to control social media usage, and eventually self confidence and esteem (Richard, 2013).

Faith in reason refers to confidence that in the long run. A person with higher interests allied to humankind can serve and give free and fair reasons hence, encouraging people to form their own conclusions in order to develop their own rational faculties. Thus, faith and proper encouragement cultivates rationality among people who learn to think for themselves to form lucid ideas and opinions drawing realistic and moral conclusions. Lastly, fair-mindedness refers to willingness and consciousness to treat different people fairly without letting personal feelings or vested interests interferes. Thus, people develop friendships in a community or nation due to adherence on intellectual standards without taking advantage, being selfish, and self-absorbed (Paul, 2013).

Validity of Authors’ Arguments

The arguments provided in defining critical thinkers are valid. This is because they affirm that, critical thinkers ought to responsible and morally upright persons determined to improve societal growth and development. More so, the authors assert critical thinkers are innovative and creative. Thus, social media users ought to be critical thinkers. This can enable them to develop skills and talents aimed at ensuring social media usage derive positive impacts.

Impacts of Academic Knowledge on Social Elements across Global Communities

People develop scientific intuition to equip themselves with diverse sensors crucial for epistemological progression. Corey asserts that, computer-based simulations and experiments are visualized and illustrative as they are vividly presented to contribute towards a more immediate and perhaps deeper understanding. The visualization can therefore result in ensuring recipients credulously believe a methodology. For example, social media users have failed to analyze and evaluate computer based methods facilitating global relations. This has led to development of disciplines bringing about considerable changes across global communities. These changes include parallel and non-parallel distribution of information without filtering to maintain safety measures. As a result, the number of online criminal activities has increased endangering especially young and inexperienced social media users (Corey, 2014).

Bainbridge also observes that, advanced technologies transform human relations and disciplines. Based on technological surveys administered among social media users, a large numbers of respondents affirmed the Internet has revolutionized social relations. This is because people rely on primary and secondary sources without going to the library to acquire information relating to current issues in the communities. This has resulted to networking. It has however rendered original forms of knowledge as sources without value added information. Thus, the internet has much improved accessibility especially to information. However, it has diminished the quality of social relations across global communities as people nowadays avoid physical contacts preferring to electronic versions of relationships (Bainbridge, 1999).

How Principles of Active Citizenship will Impact Social Media in the Future

Foremost, the principles of active citizenship can strengthen the sense of shared ownership and responsibility within an enlarged global society to fulfill their global responsibilities. This further strengthens citizens’ participation in processes safeguarding global community’s future. For example, establishment of worldwide standards measuring social impact of volunteering can foster recognition and celebrations. Consequently, this can promote active citizenship in attempts to achieve social justice. More so, it can expand and consolidate social media network to improve governance across global communities. Thus, the principles of active citizenship likely to impact social media positively in the future are allied to responsibilities, social strengths, justice, and governance (Mikhail, 2011). 

Conclusion

In conclusion, critical thinking referring to the capacity to recognize and overcome social issues and injustice should be applied in the use of social media. This will guarantee that, social media users uphold their moral reasoning, values and principles. This will further ensure that, adults and children use social media morally to achieve societal growth and development globally. Consequently, the users will critically think of ways to implement social media in day to day activities without hindering or impeding their efforts to meet and fulfill societal roles and responsibilities. This will uphold social relations, justices and governance.

References

Anderson, J. R., Greeno, J. G., Reder, L. M., & Simon, H. A. (2000). Perspectives on Learning, Thinking and Activity. Educational Researcher, 29(1), 11-13.

Bainbridge, W. (1999). Information Infrastructures in the Social Sciences. Science Technology Industry Review, 24(1), 123-135.

Broome, J. (2009). The Unity of Reasoning? in Spheres of Reason. Robertson: Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Cindy, S., & Faith, R. (2008). Basic Ways to Integrate Media Literacy and Critical Thinking into any Curriculum. National Association for Media Literacy Education.

Corey, P. (2014). Nine Dale Carnegie Human Relations Principles Critical to your Social Media Success. Retrieved on 19th March 2015 from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/15-body-language-blunders-successful-people-never-make-bradberry

Daiva, P. (2010). Integration of Critical Thinking Principles into the Curriculum of Secondary Schools. Lithuania’s Report Research Case, Foundation Open Society Institute

Harlan, L. (2014). A Year of Critical Thinking in a Distracted World. The Huffington-Post Blog. Retrieved on 19th March 2015 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harlan-loeb/critical-thinking-social-media_b_4528125.html

Hauser, M. D. (2005). Moral Minds: How Nature Designed our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. New York, Harper Collins.

Henry, S. R. (2013).  Philosophical Examination of Moral Reasoning Faces. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Mikhail, J. (2011). Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls’s Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Muriel, P. (2000). Science Education for Contemporary Society: Problems, Issues and Dilemmas. International Bureau of Education Workshop Final Report.

Paul, R. (2013). Critical Thinking: Moral Integrity and Citizenship. Dillion Beach California, Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Sneddon, A. (2007). A Social Model of Moral Dumbfounding: Implications for Studying Moral Reasoning and Moral Judgment. Philosophical Psychology, 20(1), 731–48.