Debate #5: Social Media is Ruining Childhood
(Week #5: Post #1)
Feeling those Finish Line Feels
Even though this debate seemed to be less heated than last week, I still felt as if people felt a strong intuition pulling or keeping them on one side of the debate or the other. Before you continue reading this blog post, I want to preface that my opinions are solely based on my own experiences in the classroom over more than a decade of teaching. I totally acknowledge that we are all coming from totally different teaching experiences, and some experiences have definitely probably been traumatizing, or really pulling a person from one side to another on this topic. Therefore, after reading through my blog, I would love to hear your experiences with cell phones in the classroom and what that has or may look like for you in your own experiences.
Other than that, thanks again for stopping by. For those that are hanging on by a thread with report cards, as well as all my #ReginaPublicSchool friends, hang in there! We’re almost there and are nearing the finish line. Keep up the great work! For those of you that need the reminder right now, this craziness too shall pass, hang in there!
On the agree side, we heard from Gunpreesh, Dami, and Fasiha, who presented us with the following resources to review: The Impact of Social Media on Children (blog post), The Very Real Damage That Social Media Does on Kids (video), and Wake Up! Social Media is Ruining Our Kids (video). Check out the opening statement from the agree side here.
Some of the main points that the group addressed are the following:
- Social Media is Unregulated & Potentially Dangerous
- Following Negative Trends
- Promotes Cyberbullying
- High Levels of Anxiety & Depression
- Less Imagination & Creativity
- Fake News & Interpretations
No Way! Debate
On the disagree side, we heard from Jennifer, Mike, and Shivali, who presented us with the following resources to review: 18 Teens Using Social Media for Good Deeds (article), Girl with a Voice (article), Community Building and Knowledge Sharing by Individuals with Disabilities Using Social Media (article), Be the Change (podcast), and Digital Leadership: Using the Internet and Social Media to Improve the Lives, Well-Being, and Circumstances of Others (article). The video of their opening statement wasn’t posted at the time of writing this blog post, so stay tuned to check out their opening statement.
Some of the main points that our group addressed are the following:
- Fosters Communication & Interaction
- Embraces Difference
- Creates a Sense of Belonging
- Different Forms of Social Media
- Digital Leadership, Literacy & Learning
A Few Thoughts & Interpretations
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. As some of you have probably caught on from my other blog posts (if you’ve been here before), is that I am a social media onlooker and observer, and I rarely interact on a personal level with it. I use it to mostly stay connected to sales, or the latest finds at Costco. I am mostly Facebook illiterate and am new to Twitter. I have to say I enjoy Twitter for the onlooking purpose of reading news and current events, with having to put very little effort in on my part, as well as sharing almost no information.
However, because I don’t strongly embrace social media, doesn’t necessarily mean that I think it’s ruining our kiddos. I think each and every generation has said something about the upcoming generation and what has ‘ruined’ them. For example, the introduction of rock and roll music, or the calculator. There has always been something that has emerged that has made the last generation cringe and deem that the next upcoming generation would fail us.
I think there are many great things about social media for kiddos. Being able to make connections to others that they can relate to, especially if they do not feel like they can fit into their current communities, or even being able to chat with friends from near and far if they’ve moved, and so on. I think it has also sparked creativity and given kiddos a voice who may not necessarily feel confident, comfortable, or ready to share their voice in ‘real life’. I have also witnessed kiddos come out of their shells a bit and want to dance and sing at school because of the latest TikTok trend, and only a handful of years ago, it was like pulling teeth to get kiddos to think outside of the box in some of those areas.
However, I have also witnessed the real uglies of social media. From sexting and cyberbullying, to bullying, anxiety and depression, and more. Can social media be an ugly place for kiddos (and all people really)? Of course. However, even though we are prescribed a certain medication that we need in order to maintain our health, do we stop taking it because there is one small risk factor that occurred? Or do we take that reasonable risk in order to live a healthy lifestyle? Am I saying that social media is always healthy? No. What I am saying is that we need to have a risk assessment and see what is worth risking and what isn’t. The more we tell kids or anyone really not to do something, the more they will rebel and do the opposite.
Instead of telling our kiddos no, why not teach them how to properly use social media? Does that mean that I use it in my classroom? No. I don’t. I am not a huge fan of social media in the classroom, but I do spend a lot of time talking about social media with kiddos and proper digital citizenship. If we are educating our kiddos about the potential pros and cons of social media, we are giving them the tools that they need in order to make decisions for themselves. We are setting them up with good decision-making skills, that will allow them to make their own decisions while weighing the possible consequences of some of their actions. If we do not teach kiddos that every action has an opposite and equal reaction, then we are failing them.
Throughout the argument, I kept thinking that maybe social media is ‘ruining’ parenting and not necessarily kiddos. Maybe parents need to spend some more time taking social media seriously and their parenting roles more seriously. Instead of giving kiddos technology to get some quiet time, maybe some prior teaching needs to happen and be reviewed often. I can’t really speak from my own experience being a parent as my kiddo is only 2 and we haven’t embarked on that adventure yet. But from a teacher’s point of view, I think a lot is being left up to the teachers. I especially connected with Alyssa’s story this week about having to teach a kinder that the YouTube video they were sharing with her was inappropriate, and the reasons why. That’s something that happened outside of school yet was the teacher’s responsibility to explain and do the teaching. Where are parents being held accountable, and why are so many outside duties being left up to teachers?
What Are Your Thoughts?
Although this topic didn’t seem to be as heated as last week, there were a lot of strong opinions about the topic. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts. Again, I always appreciate the interaction with my blog post, so if you’ve cruised to the bottom to save some time, I am passing no judgment over here. Feel free to answer one (or more if you’d like) of the prompting questions below, leave your own general comment, or simply like the page. All are appreciated and valued.
- Is social media actually ruining childhood? Why or why not?
- If you could change this blog prompt slightly, how would you change it? What outcomes do you think would come from the change?
- Have you had either a really amazing or terrible experience in your classroom with social media that has made you embrace or ban BYOD technology from your classroom?
- In your opinion, what are some great things that you have seen from kiddos because of social media?
- Does social media have a place in your classroom? Why or why not?