This week was round two of the debates, and it did not disappoint! These debates have been so much fun, and the conversations just keep getting better and better. This is definitely one of the best assignments I have ever had the opportunity to participate in, as I love having real and critical discussions like this.
Topic #1 – Social Media is ruining childhood
This debate began by addressing all the problems that technology and social media can cause, such as cyberbullying, self-esteem issues, and the dangers that hate comments & online predators pose. Children are now being exposed to this earlier than ever before, as many children as young as 7 or 8 are active on social media today. We also discussed how it can be unhealthy for children’s physical and mental health to be on social media all the time, and many argued that they should be playing outside instead. Although I agree that too much social media isn’t good for anyone, I do not think kids today are being robbed of their childhood. Social media, when used appropriately, can be an amazing tool that allows children to connect with their friends or seek support. Social media has been especially great during this pandemic, as kids who were unable to go to school or see any of their friends were still able to stay connected with them online. In this way, I believe social media can also be good for children’s mental health.
Topic #2 – Surveillance of student data and online activities by school systems is necessary to ensure student safety
This debate was really interesting for me, as I honestly didn’t know much about school surveillance beforehand. I was shocked to discover that some schools actually go as far as monitoring the text messages student’s send while using the school Wi-Fi. One major concern with this is that student’s privacy is being violated. One of the best points brought up during the debate was that students may not feel safe or comfortable researching certain things (such as their sexuality or gender identity) if they are from a conservative school community. This is a major concern, as children from lower income households may not have much access to technology outside of school. On the other hand, many argue that surveillance is necessary to help prevent violent crime within schools or for suicide prevention. We also discussed how schools should be responsible for keeping students safe online, much like how they are responsible for keeping students safe at recess. This means schools also have a responsibility to intervene if they witness bullying taking place among students (in-person or online). Overall, I think this was the debate I was the most torn by. While I believe online surveillance is necessary, I also feel that students deserve a certain amount of privacy. The challenge is, where do you draw the line?