The Use of Social Media by Dental Students for Communication and Learning: Two Viewpoints (2019)

J Dent Educ. 2019 Mar 25. pii: JDE.019.072. doi: 10.21815/JDE.019.072.

Viewpoint 1: Social Media Use Can Benefit Dental Students’ Communication and Learning and Viewpoint 2: Potential Problems with Social Media Outweigh Their Benefits for Dental Education.

de Peralta TL1, Farrior OF2, Flake NM2, Gallagher D2, Susin C2, Valenza J2.


Social media have become a major part of an interconnected society, impacting personal and professional lives. This Point/Counterpoint presents two opposing viewpoints on the question of whether social media should be used in dental education as a learning and communication tool for dental students. Viewpoint 1 argues that social media benefit student learning and should be used as a tool in dental education. This argument is based on evidence concerning use of social media and improved learning across health professions, improved peer-peer communication in clinical education, improved engagement in interprofessional education (IPE), and provision of a mechanism for safe and improved communication between practitioners and patients, as well as faculty and students. Viewpoint 2 argues that potential problems and risks in using social media outweigh any benefits found in learning and therefore social media should not be used as a tool in dental education. This viewpoint is supported by evidence of negative effects on learning, the establishment of a negative digital footprint in the public’s view, risk of privacy violations when using social media, and the new phenomenon of Internet addiction with its negative physiological effects on social media users.

KEYWORDS: communication and interpersonal skills; dental education; educational technologies; professional behavior; social media

PMID: 30910932

DOI: 10.21815/JDE.019.072