Another week, another debate! And this week it was a great debate that brought on some great class discussion! This week Lauren and Kylie battled it out debating the topic is social media ruining childhood. Lauren took the agree side and made some great points to consider in her video, and Kylie took the disagree side and also made some great points throughout her video! At the beginning of this debate I did not overly know where I stood, however, through previous debates I have learned the many advantages technology and online connections give to some individuals and with that, I disagreed with this statement! Our pre-vote conclusion was the closest one yet so I knew I was in for a good debate last night!
Let’s dive right in and see the points that both Lauren and Kylie used to support their sides of the debate!
Starting with the agree side Lauren gave four points to support why she believes that social media is ruining childhood. Let’s take a look:
- Social Media is damaging to children’s mental health: The first point Lauren used to support her debate is social media is affecting children’s mental health at fearful levels. Social media is negatively impacting children’s mental wellbeing and is one of the leading causes of depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, FOMO (fear of missing out), Facebook depression, and many more. Social media also becomes a source for social comparison, and children are shown what perfect looks like which then develops a poor self-image of themselves. This article also supports this point stating that social media use in pre-teens and teenagers results in faceless communication, less time outdoors, disenfranchised from parents, less sleep, and again depression/suicide. Liz supported this point stating her own personal experience with her friends and classmates using ask.fm. She stated that ask.fm caused a lot of issues in the school
and some of her peers committed suicide because of the bullying that happened through this platform. Liz said that social media and these consequences made their class grow up so quickly and parts of their innocence were lost. Lauren also stated that there are now apps out there such as whisper that allow individuals to create anonymous accounts to share secrets and form new relationships. As both Liz and Lauren mentioned in their comments, cyberbullying is affecting children’s mental health. Many young individuals are impacted by cyberbullying and social media is one of the main platforms for cyberbullying to take place, as we can see through the examples above. This article supports this statement that social media is one of the leading causes of bullying in general since social media is everywhere, private, and bystanders often do not see it as clearly.
- Social Media is Addictive: The second point Lauren stated was that social media is addictive. Social media is addictive and making children less social to the people around them. This article supports that many children are missing out on life skills such as riding a bike because they are so glued to technological devices. Kendall also gave a point to support this statement when she shared a story where she came across a young boy trying to use a book the same way they would a tablet. This is very problematic and may not be the case for all children but I do have to agree that many children and their parents rely heavily on these devices thus forming the addiction. Lauren also used her younger sister as an example that once she got one Snapchat, she instantly wanted more social media platforms because she was hooked!
- Digital Footprint and Privacy Concerns: The last point Lauren stated to support her side of the debate is when children are getting these social media accounts so young, they often do not understand that internet is forever and once it is online, it no longer belongs to you. Lauren states that how can young children form a positive digital identity if they are not taught about it! I look at this point and I think it is safe to say that because we know that many young children are getting social media before the age restriction, maybe we as educators need to take that into consideration and begin teaching about digital identity earlier then we are.
Now that we have looked at the agree side, we now must consider the disagree side. Kylie gave many great points to support her argument. Let’s take a look:
- Opens Doors: The first point Kylie states to support her argument is that social media opens doors for students to find their passions, to learn new things, and to possibly form careers. Through social media and the online world, in general, there are endless amounts of videos, posts, and pictures that teach new skills and hobbies that children can adapt. This article looks at five reasons why social media is good for children and it really reflects this point along with some other class discussions that occurred last night. The article states that social media allows children to keep up with their friends and family, collaborate with classmates, discover new interests, become prepared for
the future, and get creative! These are all skills that will support them in becoming life long learners! In the class discussion Kendall brought up the fact that she had a great imagination as a kid and she stated that through social media imagination could be explored, or social media would take that imagination away. Aurora supported Kendall in this point by stating that she believes social media enhances a child’s imagination because as the article above states social media allows children to collaborate and learn with others. Aurora stated that there are only so many ideas that our individual brains can come up with and with that having social media as a tool to learn and adapt ideas is a great way to allow children to become creative and critical thinkers!
- Take a Stand: Social media is a platform that allows youth to have a voice and to lead social action and social change. Take the school walk-outs for example, without social media they would have not reached out to so many other students who were wanting to stand up for the same fight and to all walk-out to make their stance! Social media is a platform that allows youth to find their voice and to become leaders.
- Social media promotes mental health initiatives: The third statement Kylie stated to support her case is that without social media advertises resources such as bell let’s talk day, pink day, kids help phone, and other support organizations that would have never become as big as they are today without the use of social media. Yes, social media does cause
some of these problems, however, we have seen bullying before the age of technology and it is important to also notice the good social media can do to spreading the word. Let’s take the momo challenge for example, without the use of Twitter and other social media platforms it could have taken much longer for this problem to come to a halt! These platforms also allow individuals who do not fit in with their peers at school or other social events fit in with their online community. Kylie gave the example of the Minecraft community where a group of individuals talked a boy out of committing suicide because they were there to support him and respect him.
- Social media is inevitable: The last point Kylie stated is that technology is not something new to our children and with that, not something that can be ignored or pushed away. Children should be allowed to explore different social media platforms and they should be given the right education to understand the good and the bad of social media and how to create a positive digital identity. As I stated in the discussion, technology and social media is part of a child’s life, they are fully immersed in it and with that, we can not act like it is different from their life because it plays a huge part in their socialization and world in general. As mentioned above social media allows for so many opportunities for youth and with that, we need to embrace these opportunities!
After hearing both sides of the debate the class then was given the opportunity to discuss their beliefs and understandings of the topic. Katia pointed out that we are coming to this debate with an idealized vision of what childhood is, so what is our idealized vision of childhood and how is this problematic? This was a really great point and it made me think about how we all come into a conversation with different perspectives and understandings. Tianna pointed out that the way she idealizes childhood is different from her parents, which is then different from her grandparents understanding. With that, I think it is important to understand that every generation of childhood both has good things that people want to continue with their children and the bad things that they want to forget. If we are stuck in these generations before technology we are only going to see the bad in what technology and social media has to offer and never be able to open up to the endless possibilities it supplies. To continue off this point the class also discussed that each era has always seen some form of technology as problematic, if it is not phones then it is the newspaper that people are being anti-social with, so why does technology and social media get such a bad rap? Shaleen supports this point that we as human beings have always searched for some kind of distraction that allows us to avoid social situations, we have always been anti-social so why is it seen as so problematic now? The last point I want to touch on is Tianna made a good point that she wonders if it is not just technology that is impacting children, but how the parents use technology with their children. Parents often use technology to make their children be quiet in social settings and when they need to get something done, maybe it is the parents making the children so attached to their devices and not the devices in themselves!
This debate truly was a busy one and with that a long post! The post-debate results heavily shifted to the disagree side an I am not sure if I was surprised or not!
For myself, I stayed with my original decision that social media does not ruin childhood. From the points listed above as well as the class discussion my opinion of this topic was enhanced through this new knowledge. I believe that social media allows for so many opportunities for youth and with that, it is important that we teach them how to build a positive digital identity that they will carry with them throughout their lives!