Social Media is Ruining Childhood

Social Media is Ruining Childhood

It was an interesting debate and a real eye-opener I must say. Thanks to Mike, Jenifer, and Shivali, you all made valid points which I must confess that I agree with. Based on your argument, I began to wonder, what is this childhood that I had that I think is superior to what children are having these days. Thinking man with thinking bubble on blackboard

Having been on the agree side of this argument, I was so convinced I was on the right side of the argument. Not like I have switched sides but I will agree that “ruining” is an extreme word for this topic. However, social media poses dangers and it is definitely affecting childhood negatively. As I strongly affirmed, there is a reason why age 13 is the least legal age to be on social media platforms despite that the inventors are business-oriented and are out to make a profit from their inventions. 

Here are some ways in which social media is negatively affecting childhood

  • Everyone is content with being in their own world.
  • Interactions have been replaced with something digital.
  • Body language, facial expressions, and emotions – give us a sense of identity and community and how we view others in the world
  • Online identities hold more weight than in-person identities
  • Little to no boundaries on the exposure to violence and PG-rated content.
  • Mental health breakdown.
  • Family togetherness: Always looking forward to seeing relatives. The physical yarning for physical togetherness is how we learned conventional practices that are now non-existent.
  • Child upbringing has always been based on the standard of parents, social media is now doing the parenting. Parental discipline, family bonding, communal setting, and social media have taken a whole lot of shifts because social media is now raising children.
  • Ability to be intrinsic motivated.
  • Easy access to derailing information and activities.
  • Social media can influence children to commit crimes because they are unaware of the limitations of boundaries or jurisdictional issues.
  • Research indicates that screen time is detrimentally linked to many health issues in children and youths
  • Poor social behavior (being socially awkward)
  • Short attention span on things that matters
  • Overdose to an addiction
  • Superficial relationships
  • Unfiltered internet for kids is a wild west
  • Kids are watching porn as sex education, and getting relationship tips via social media 
  • We have traded a false sense of safety and security for putting kids in riskier situations
  • Removing kid’s abilities to deal with their own thoughts
  • Declined creative drive/ originality
  • Reduced chances of having an authentic life

I believe that different people in different parts of the world in different cultures had different childhood experiences and that might inform what people value in their childhood experience. I liked the freedom I had to play, make friends, explore, and be creative on my own without the influence of people telling me ‘my way of doing it, is not cool’, I did not have the pressure of online validation nor had the burden of what I am supposed to look like. I still strongly believe that every child should have the pleasure of experiencing what I call ‘real childhood’, which might mean a different thing to you.

As an adult, I am wary of what I see on social media platforms and to be candid it scares me that kids are getting exposed to that life. It is stimulating and overwhelming.

I acknowledge that the world is changing and that social media has come to stay. I also agree that the inception of social media is not what brought about the existence of the above-listed cons but it sure heightened these problems. No doubt, we cannot get rid of social media, hence, I recommend that it is used under the strict guidance of parents, set boundaries, and supervision.

Dami’s View Sad emoji isolated on white background, depressed emoticon 3d rendering

2 thoughts on “Social Media is Ruining Childhood

  1. Hi Dami,
    Yes, you listed some VERY valid points about issues with social media use. And I actually think access to it should almost be like getting your license – you get a learner’s permit around 15/16, with EXTRA supervision and training; then when you’re older, you begin to navigate solo. Social media can be a font of creativity and access to communities (otherwise unavailable to minoritized groups), but just like a car – it can become a weapon if not used properly. As of January 1st of this year, I have been totally disconnected from all forms of social media because it was damaging my mental health. I said I’d give myself 6 months to see how it feels to disconnect, and now that 6 months are up, I feel zero inclination to return. I probably will, but with extreme mindfulness. Again, I still believe social media has its place (especially as an agent of positive social justice changes), but I think the use of social media should come with training wheels 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kim. I really wish you could share with me how you successfully stayed away from social media platforms for that long. It is a real struggle for me.

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