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.
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.