Social Media and Surveillance

April 8, 2021 0 By Brandon Rumford

Our last debate was an interesting one to consider, the topics being social media is ruining childhood, and surveillance of student data and online activities by school systems is necessary to ensure student safety. These are some pretty big topics and I enjoyed hearing both sides of both arguments. And for this post I am going to start with the first debate, the argument is social media ruining childhood.

Without dragging it on, in my opinion social media is ruining a part of our childhood. I am not going to say it ruins our whole childhood but it definitely destroys a part of it. It destroys a child’s imagination, their innocence, and their esteem. Before social media children did much more playing than they did today, they had their toys, made up games, and used their imagination to have fun. Now that does not happen as often, because young children are using social media they should not be allowed to use. Even older children are not playing games, running around like we used to. I remember playing man tracker around town every night when I was younger. And that is quite uncommon today. Children today are also brought up with social media, all of their lives posted online. Even as babies, parents are posting about their children on social media. Children today don’t really have private lives because of social media. As well, as one of Logan’s article talks about, mental health is so much worse today than it was before children were influenced by social media. It is hard for children or teens to think highly of themselves when they see these “perfect” people online.

Now looking at the other side, social media has improved childhood, especially since Covid. We can interact with people we would not normally be able to. Fond new hobbies and sources of entertainment when it is hard to get outside. There are other educational benefits to social media as well. One of Molly’s articles talks about how social media improves literacy, communication, and reading skills. This is obviously a big thing for children to be learning, as these are essential skills they will use for life. Overall, as I feel will end up being a theme during these debates, one side is not a clear winner. Both arguments have valid points and although social media can be beneficial to one’s childhood, it also has negative effects.

Moving on to the next debate, should schools keep tabs on student data and online activity. This one I am a little less in the middle of. Schools should not track a students activity online, and many great points were brought up in class to explain why. Why should we track students online activity, when they will look up what they want from home. We cannot stop them outside of school, so it is not really protecting them from anything. Not to mention the privacy concerns that Jesse’s article talks about. It is a very thin line between surveillance and stalking, and not long before it can get too far. As Jesse talked about in the debate, it is better that we educate students instead of track them. Why not teach them the dangers that come with being online, teach them about digital literacy, after all, that is what this class is about. We are learning how to use technology to educate students and teach them how to be responsible digital citizens. And that is what I think the answer to this debate is.