Debate #5: Social Media Is Running Childhood.

We eat, we sleep, we check social media, we repeat … without realizing that it isn’t real

Is social media running children’s lives? This is a significant question. In last Monday’s class, I had the opportunity to debate this topic. My partner Gunpreesh, I, and Dami debated on the ‘agree’ side of the statement that social media is ruining childhood, while Jennifer, Mike Gerrior, and Shivali argued against us that it is not ruining childhood. My partners and I started researching and found a lot of evidence that shows social media definitely affects children today. There was a lot of research on the effects of social media in childhood like The Impact of Social Media on Children, it discusses the issues of today’s and future generations who are growing up with social media. It discusses how addictive social media can be, as well as how sad it may make our youth. The author’s major goal is to discuss the dangers of social media and how it affects children on a daily basis. Another article, Is social media ruining kids’ childhood?, also discusses how social media has taken away our kid’s creativity, it also affects our children’s health(mental, emotional psychological, physical and social). causes changes in friendships and relationships. etc. In short, Kids’ development and growth are affected by social media usage.

Negative Effects of Social Media on Kids
Negative Impact of Social media on Kids

One study out of the University of Pittsburgh, for example, found a correlation between time spent scrolling through social media apps and negative body image feedback. Those who had spent more time on social media had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media. The participants who spent the most time on social media had 2.6 times the risk.

A separate study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time young kids spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and report symptoms of depression

Most social media apps require users to be at least 13 years old. But in a recent poll, parents shared that 50% of children 10 to 12 years old and 33% of children 7 to 9 years old use social media apps. Social media makes it easy to compare oneself to another. Children younger than 11 years old who use Instagram and Snapchat are more likely to have problematic digital behaviors like having online-only friends and visiting sites parents would disapprove of, as well as a greater chance of taking part in online harassment. One of the study show statistics and facts about how the social media destroying kids physically and mentally and its negative effects on academic life. Another study talks about how children who use TikTok are developing tics and having tic-like attacks. They’re experiencing a movement disorder brought on by stress and anxiety — presumably made worse by the pandemic and teens’ increased social media consumption.

In addition to problematic digital behaviors, there may be changes in children’s daily behavior at home like:

  • Increased irritability.
  • Increased anxiety.
  • Lack of self-esteem.
  • If kids are being asked to get off social media and do their homework, then parents might see increased periods of irritability or frustration directed towards parents.

    Nowadays, social media is been used as a tool for cyberbullying and online predators, it is considered to be the worst outcome of social media. As disagree team argue that cyberbullying and online predator’s are outdated problems but it is not true. According to Common Sense Media Census 2021, the biggest threat to childhood in terms of using social media is cyberbullying which has affected more than 1 in 5 children aged 10-12 years. The Internet and social media platforms have also kicked the doors wide open for child predators to hunt, lure, and groom victims online as the studies shows. In 2020, reports of online child predator incidents spiked more than 97%, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. And, according to the FBI, each offender may sexually extort dozens—sometimes hundreds—of young victims.

    Social media lead to cyberbullying because children are able to remove themselves emotionally, as it is easier to say hurtful things online behind the screen that they never able say face to face because they do not have to deal with an emotional reaction. Cyber Bullied kid experienced abusive, online behavior, including name calling, rumor-spreading, and receiving unwanted explicit images and threats from their peers by sending, posting, or sharing mean or hurtful comments. Which  may lead to anxiety, depression, severe isolative behaviors, and this may even lead to suicide or self harm in some cases.

    We all know a lot of the stuff on social media and the internet isn’t real,” which might lead kids to believe in false realities. Adults may be able to spot misleading marketing strategies on fake YouTube, Instagram posts, or any other Social Media platform but kids aren’t that lucky.

    A new study finds that one in five YouTube videos watched by kids age eight and under contained ads that were not age-appropriate.

    Same as the case with the harmful content that is present in the social media, as Social media is a very addictive platform where children will go to any length to gain attention. Self-harming acts are becoming more popular, and people are publishing them on social media to get attention.
    When kids witness other people doing similar things, they don’t waste any time in copying them in order to achieve the same level of popularity. This can result in failed experiments and negative outcomes. Children, on the other hand, perceive it as a sign of bravery and courage to demonstrate their authority to others.

    Even though most of us are aware of these facts, we determine that we do not wish to abandon social media. We don’t want to succumb to Fomo, which stands for “fear of missing out.” We look at nicely crafted Instagram images that capture people’s pleasant moments and wonder why we aren’t as happy or content as they are. We just need to realize, that it isn’t real. It’s all just for show. However, a disagreeing team gives an argument about parents’ supervision and guidance. It may be said that parental controls are only one component of guiding children toward safe use of social media apps. I may agree to it up to a certain level. but kids of today’s generation who have grown up with technology know-how to bypass or find loopholes in these control like multiple fake accounts or finta (another word for a fake Instagram account) or even some parents don’t know how to supervise or guide their children, as some parents says “We have no control over this”, as they face challenges with kids’ social media use.

    Thus, I may say that social media has a variety of effects on children, but the negative aspects much exceed the positive effects. I’ve discovered that social media has a greater impact on children’s growing brains, with long-term effects. Violence and aggressive behavior, sexual content, body image and self-esteem, physical health, and academic performance were some of the negative effects of social media.

    7 thoughts on “Debate #5: Social Media Is Running Childhood.

    1. Hi Fasiha,

      Great post. I agree with you that children are very much attracted by TikTok and other social media apps nowadays. I am not a K-12 teacher, but I used to work part-time at the YMCA of Regina as a youth program facilitator. I actually learned how to use TikTok from children who attended my program. Most of these elementary school kids have their phones already and use social media the way adults use it. I set a clear rule that no phone was allowed during the program, and they all followed the requirement, but outside the program, they use them as usual. I think teachers and educators should have set clear expectations regarding phones and social media usage.


      • Thank you Echo for your thoughtful comment ! I agree with you about the Tik Tok videos. Todays generation is so tech savvy that they know more than information, that even required for their age which is harmful for their overall development. Yeah I agree with you about the clear rules in the classroom but I believe they will find a loopholes in these conditions too. It is important that we should also educate our parents too, because they usually don’t know how to give guidance or supervised these children in using social media.

    2. What a thoughtful post, Fasiha. I agree with you that the negative supersedes the positive. Spending time on social media has become almost part of our lives; we just need to control it as parents or caregivers. Nice write up.

      • Thank you Funmilola for your interesting comment !! I truly believe that social media is definitely making harmful effects to our children especially to age 1 to 13 more, than it is effectively positively. It is effecting their over all development, which we should accept as an educators or as an parent and as an parent or educator we need to educate our child about the positive use of social media.

    3. Hey Fashia, I agree social media have some negative effects but the solution is not to turn off all technology. As adults, we need to be familiar with social media
      and have open conversations with children about how to think critically, how to recognize these influences, and the effect they have on everyone in society.
      The more we know, the more we are responding to this reality. Adults and youth have started campaigns online to raise awareness. Some have used social media platforms to spread kindness and to celebrate true beauty, such as the #filterdrop campaign. Before the time of social media, all media was controlled by the film, tv, and magazine industries. We now have the ability to counter those messages and fight back. it also helps to reduce feelings of isolation and rejection It allows them to develop the skills needed to think and create beyond
      the circumscribed boundaries of mass media produce.

      • Thank you for your insightful comment Shivali ! I truly agree that as an adult its our responsibility to to give our children guidance and supervision for healthy use of social media but in the age of 1 to 13 is very critical age where overall development of a child is going on. So the negative impacts of social media on these children is very heavy especially the advertisement that are going on in it, not only in YOUTUBE videos but also in educational sites these advertisement are present which can’t be control by parents or educators every single time.

    4. debate #5 debate #5 titled social media is ruining childhood they agree side discussed topics like social media dominated, negative influence, and cyber bully. It was linked to social media use. I agree that these issues always come back to the parent first and the teacher second. Their awareness issues that need to be apart of the automatic essential teachings before a person uses social media or technology. I think the permission to access technology or social media is fundamental to reduce the ongoing problems. I’m not saying it is ruining childhood but it plays a key part in a large number of families lives and it’s and the scenario are the example is it’s like candy or a babysitter. There are rules when we give out candy and there are stricter rules when we have a babysitter. Although tablets laptops and some phones have become the new babysitter for the disagree side it was discussed about controversial debates, context electronic communication, community collaboration, face to face, and open and creative communities, social and emotional barriers, bonding and the marginalized population, we need to address good parenting with technology we need to have parental limits we need to be informed with technological informed about the technological loopholes bouts Lang Lang slang language and addictions to technology. It was said childhood changes with age, groups and with decades and now centuries, this gives rise to create more awareness of technology, issues not only acceptable but safety not only acceptance but safety parameters, protective routines, and stricter accessibility rules within the home and within the school.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *