Debate #5: Is Social Media Ruining Childhood?

Another week, and another great round of debates. We began with a topic that is easily debatable, even outside of our ‘EdTech circle.’

“Is social media ruining our childhood?”

Fasiha, Gunpreesh, and Dami discussed several key pieces of information when outlining the potential dangers that come along with social media. The potential of exposing children and students to cyber bullying, repeated marketing, increase in screen time, and potential online predators is something every parent and teacher is wary of. One of the other large pieces that we touched on briefly during the debate, is the instant validation that social media ‘likes,’ can provide, and how this can evolve into addictive traits for some individuals.

However, my personal beliefs have me more firmly on one side of this debate than I have been in any of the prior. I find social media to be simply another tool that we must educate our youth on, including how to use it responsibly. With effective digital citizenship skills, students can learn appropriate use, when to take breaks, and how to get the most out of this tool, while also being as safe as possible from many of the potential dangers.

These were not new thoughts for me, as similar ideals have been discussed in this and other EDTech class that I’ve taken. However, my thoughts were confirmed when Jennifer, Shivali, and Mike, explained the concept of each generation of people looking back on their own childhood with ‘rose colored glasses,’ and tending to be quite put off by the most recent generation. This seems to be the centrepoint to many arguments against the inclusion of social-media or other new technologies. This type of thinking is certainly shown by Matt Walsh, in his YouTube video explaining his feelings around the harm of Social Media (particularly starting at 1:44,) which was one of our suggested viewings for the debate.

While I understand the concerns parents may have, it’s my opinion that my future child will not need to have the same childhood I did. To me, it seems like a basic parenting philosophy to want my children to have a better childhood then I had. While it will certainly be different than mine (regardless how many variables I try and control,) it will be my job as a parent to teach my child how best to navigate the challenges that arise in his or her life, and this includes using technology, and social media, responsibly.

While I understand the concerns parents may have, it’s my opinion that my future child will not need to have the same childhood I did. To me, it seems like a basic parenting philosophy to want my children to have a better childhood then I had. While it will certainly be different than mine (regardless how many variables I try and control,) it will be my job as a parent to teach my child how best to navigate the challenges that arise in his or her life, and this includes using technology, and social media, responsibly.

Photo by Anastasiya Gepp on Pexels.com

Regarding my status as an educator, I strive to be able to teach my students how to become progressive, and effective digital citizens. I can certainly understand how this journey may be daunting to some, but as Cynthia Miller (2018,) writes,

“educators should be instrumental in demonstrating how the Internet and social media can be used to improve the lives, wellbeing, and circumstances of others in their courses. This in turn, can shift FCS students from simply being good digital citizens into becoming positive digital leaders.”

Miller, C. L. (2018). Digital Leadership: Using the Internet and Social Media To Improve the Lives, Well-Being and Circumstances of Others. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 110(1), 45-48.

Teachers that can facilitate the growth of positive digital leaders is important now, but this importance will only grow exponentially as technology continues to grow within our lives and within our society.

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