Do strong, positive social relationships really make a measurable impact on the lives of students? Here at Bridg-It, we know they do. We’ve seen time and time again how social relationships create a better learning environment for students.
A 2008 review of 148 studies on social relationships agrees. This review, entitled “Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review” by Holt-Lunstad, Smith, and Layton indicates that strong social relationships play a role in promoting better mental health and lower mortality rates.
About the Review
The study review, funded by Brigham Young University, draws together data from the study of more than 300,000 individuals. In compiling the data from the 148 studies, researchers studied the history of participants’ social relationships and contrasted it with their health and longevity to determine just how heavily social relationships weighed in when it came to the average person’s health and lifespan.
They found that there’s a strong connection between social relationships and mortality and morbidity. Individuals with stronger positive social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival. The accuracy of these findings are bolstered by the fact that this connection held true regardless of participant’s age, gender, initial health condition, and cause of death2.
What does this mean for students and school leaders?
Technology and Social Relationships
We live in a society with an ever-changing technological landscape. A student can “connect” with anyone around the world from the palm of their hand, but does that really indicate a true relationship? As technology continues to adapt and improve, students have less face-to-face interaction and more social media interaction.
Communicating through social media is convenient, but it doesn’t measure up in terms of actual connection. Real face-to-face social interaction is needed to keep feelings of loneliness away and help students maintain positive mental health.
Technology and educational software has also ushered some very prominent social changes into our current society. As a result of the switch from the in-person social landscape to the social media landscape, we’re seeing the following changes.
Technological Social Changes
- Fewer homes with multiple generations under one roof
- More social mobility
- Older average marriage age
- More homes with both parents working full-time careers
- Greater numbers of single-residence households
All of these results in fewer social relationships and opportunities for connection. In fact, over the last two decades the number of Americans who report having no confidant has tripled1.
Social Isolation Becomes the Norm
Despite technological advances and the rise of social media and online platforms at school, social isolation is only increasing(1). Instead of fostering strong, positive social relationships, technology is contributing to kids becoming increasingly more socially isolated at school.
What does this mean for students today in a world where most communication takes place online? It means school leaders have to find new, creative ways to connect with students in a way they’re comfortable with. One of those ways is with the Bridg-It educational software app.
Bridg-It Promotes Positive Social Relationships
Social networks are here to stay, and that means school leaders and teachers must find ways to leverage them and promote positive, strong social relationships. Bridg-It provides the perfect solution!
Bridg-It is an innovative social platform that represents the next generation of social networks by offering school leaders a private, positive-only social network for their students. The integrated social and emotional tools inside the Bridg-It platform help students build relationships and practice positive digital communication.
Bridg-It also helps school leaders measure student connectedness by tracking social shout-outs and positive affirmations between students and teachers. School leaders can quickly identify students who aren’t aren’t giving or receiving positive affirmations to and from other students or teachers, effectively enabling them to step in and offer the help struggling students need.
Essentially, Bridg-It gives them a tool they can use to identify which students are beginning to struggle so they can help stop further social and emotional issues before they happen.
With the information based on the real-time data Bridg-It provides, school leaders can stay on top of the social and emotional needs of their students and create healthy student connections and engagement.
About the Bridg-it Educational Software App
Ready to learn more about Bridg-it and how it can help positively transform your school’s online learning experience?
1 McPherson M, Smith-Lovin L (2006) Social Isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades. Am Sociol Rev 71: 353–375.
2 Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371/ journal.pmed.1000316