The topic of our second debate was “Social Media is Ruining Childhood” which is a critical issue in recent days because social media has become an integral part of our lives in recent years and it has impacted almost every aspect of our daily routine, including the way children spend their childhood. If I want to compare my childhood to the current generation, I should say that I come from an outdated generation because every aspect of technology was in its basic stage. However, the current generation cannot live without technology and social media. The prime example is when Covid-19 started in 2020. Technology and social media was our miracle in those years. The only way for people to communicate was by using social media. While social media has some benefits, there are growing concerns that it is ruining childhood. This blog post will explore both sides of this argument and examine the evidence for and against social media’s impact on children’s lives. In the following video, Katanu talks about the positive and negative impacts of social on youth:
On the one hand, social media offers many benefits to children. It can help them stay connected with friends and family members who live far away and it can be an excellent tool for building and maintaining relationships. Additionally, social media can be a great source of information and entertainment, providing children with access to educational resources, news, and games. Furthermore, social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have enabled children to showcase their creativity and talent, creating an avenue for expression. According to Nesi (2020, p. 116), technology and social media create “significant new challenges and exciting opportunities” in young people’s lives. For instance, you can see the LaBrant family TIK TOK mashup in the following video:
On the other hand, the negative impact of social media on childhood is becoming increasingly evident. According to the article that I studied before our class, the overuse of social media has been linked to sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression in children. Children who spend too much time on social media are at risk of developing low self-esteem and poor body image, as they are constantly bombarded with images of perfect bodies and unattainable beauty standards. Moreover, children can become addicted to social media, which can lead to isolation and a lack of physical activity.
As a personal example, I have a younger cousin who spends most of her free time on social media. Her phone is her constant companion and she is always scrolling through her feeds, even during family gatherings. Recently, she confided to me that she feels lonely and isolated, despite having hundreds of friends on social media. She admitted that she doesn’t know how to connect with people in real life because she has become so used to superficial interactions on social media. This is a clear indication of how social media is changing the way children socialize and interact with others.
In addition to social isolation, social media can also expose children to cyberbullying and other online dangers. With the anonymity that social media provides, bullies can hide behind fake profiles and harass other children without fear of reprisal. This can lead to long-term psychological damage, with victims of cyberbullying experiencing anxiety, depression, and even suicide ideation. Similarly, children can be exposed to inappropriate content on social media, including pornography, violence, and hate speech, which can be traumatic and damaging to their emotional and mental well-being.
Another personal example is a friend’s daughter who was the victim of online bullying on Instagram. She received derogatory comments and messages from her peers, which caused her a great deal of emotional distress. Her parents had to step in and take measures to protect her online, which included blocking the bullies and limiting her access to social media. This experience was a wake-up call for her parents, and they now monitor her social media use more closely, recognizing the negative impact it can have on her mental health.
In my opinion, while social media has its benefits, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is ruining childhood for many children. The negative impact of social media on children’s mental, emotional, and social well-being cannot be ignored. Therefore, it is crucial that parents and caregivers monitor children’s social media use and educate them on how to use it safely and responsibly. Moreover, social media platforms must take a more proactive approach to protect children from online dangers and ensure that the content they are exposed to is appropriate for their age. By doing so, we can ensure that children can enjoy the benefits of social media without risking their well-being.