Another wonderful round of debates in the books! I don’t even know why I’m surprised each and every week as I watch my classmates slay their topics – I have been on the fence every week because the arguments are so convincing! 🙂 This week, Melinda, Lori and Aylssa took on Erin, Brooke and Daniel in the age old debate, “Social media is ruining childhood”. So…is it??? Well, I was on no side when I did my post before class…I was completely on the fence about how I felt about this topic because I could EASILY see how both sides could be argued and make a lot of sense.
To start, have a peek at the agree groups opening statement…they make some amazing points as to why we need to cautious with our social media use around our kiddos!
Their main points included some that really resonate with me as a teacher watching kids fight their way through the tricky online world. Some of these points included the rise in depression from negative response on social media, the kids lack of self regulation skills and understanding about how their actions effect someone else or themselves and the huge point of cyberbullying. Honestly, without anything else being said, that kind of seems like enough reasons to completely shut social media off for kids! In the article, “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families” it says that 22% of teens polled login to their favourite social media site more than 10 times a day…now 22% doesn’t seem like an alarmingly high number, BUT you have to think, that’s the percentage of teens that are signing in to their FAVOURITE site, MORE than 10 times a day! That’s a lot. Our teens are consumed with checking these sites and I think that has a lot to do with checking how their posts are doing, checking how their lives are stacking up against the lives of others and that, if you are not seeing the results you are hoping for, can be depressing for a mind that cannot rationalize that everything posted is through a very filtered lens. As concerns around mental health in youth rise, this group did a great job selling that there are significant issues with social media around this topic.
One of the main reasons as an educator that I see with children using social media, and again, this comes back to the idea that the self regulation piece isn’t there, is the cyberbullying. In the first line of the article titled “Cyberbullying Identification, Prevention, & Response” it says that children have been bullying each other for generations – however, the way in which kids do so now has changed as they utilize technology. This is the rub for me, when kids went home when I was younger that was it – the bullying, teasing, etc. was over and home was a sanctuary. MOST kids wouldn’t pick up the phone and call your land line to bully you. Kids these days are inindated at all times by social media, text messages, emails and more 24/7. There are no escapes. 😦 I really appreciated how this article broke down the issues and how we can help in the role of the school, but the parent as well. I pulled this graphic from the article that illustrates results found in a 10 school survey conducted in 2016-2017. Please click the link to be taken to a clearer version. Interesting to consider and see how this data as well affects how we feel about allowing our students on social media.
Lastly, another point that struck me was the information regarding parents not being educated in the user guidelines and age limits for the sites their children are using. I respect a parents ability to make good choices for their child, however, I also respect the people and teams that have created these guidelines and age limits to have done research into what group of children/adolescents and adults should be accessing certain social media and sites. The fact that the majority of parents didn’t have a clue that these existed is alarming. Perhaps with all this information what we can suggest is holding off an social media for children and adolescents until the responsible adults have a better grasp on the long term effects it will have? So much to think about and consider when you are making these potentially life changing decisions for your children or students.
Next up, the disagree group! Enjoy their opening statements where they argue that indeed it is NOT social media ruining our children’s lives.
I have to admit, I was surprised at how many of their points I agreed with…and how many I had actually utilized with my own classroom. They argued that, social media when taught responsibly can help children connect, form relationships and feel like they have a spot and sense of belonging. This sense gives kids genuine support and safe spaces to be. Social when taught responsibly helps create a positive digital footprint. Social media when taught responsibly can encourage learning through shared fact and platforms. Finally, social media, when taught responsibly can promote and encourage real, positive social change. As you can see, I feel the majority of their arguments hinged around the correct implementation and responsible teaching and learning of social media use. Without this, their argument in my opinion, would be null and void.
This group posted many interesting articles, one of which was titled, “How Students Become Influencers and Advocates” where it really drives home how social media can be used to create spaces for hard adolescent conversations while still offering hope. For students living in a more close minded home or community, these outlets could be crucial in offering information and support. I love the idea of being connected and using social media to celebrate and encourage all voices to be heard. I did a project this year with my kids that raised money for Grandmother’s 4 Grandmother’s that used social media as our spring board and my kids are 7 and 8 years old – although I was still playing an integral role and the use of social media was VERY guided and supervised, this project changed how kids viewed the world – they got to see that Regina SK wasn’t the only place in the world. How connected we’ve become and how much support we can lend one another from afar makes me lean towards agreeing that maybe social media isn’t all that day for our kids…
The last point I will touch on is the fact that it can help build a positive digital identity. Now, this throws back to my own debate a previous week, that if we are building this presence for our kids, we aren’t really empowering them or allowing them a say – however, what if we did? What it we taught students proper and responsible use, showed them the negative side and how social media has a potential to show back up in your later life, and with guidance and support showed them how to start building a footprint they can be proud of? That’s a pretty frickin’ cool thing. My classmate Joe did a cool thing on his blog post this week, he went through history and pointed out how whatever was new at the time “was ruining the kids” when in all actuality, it was just new and different and after the initial shock wore off, everyone was fine. I thought this was an innovative and important way to look at it. Perhaps instead of running scared, we research, become informed and show our youth how to be the same when taking on new challenges in the digital world.
To leave you today I will throw a shout out to my classmate Dawn, who had an eye catching graphic on this week’s blog post that reminded me that with great power comes great responsibility. This timeless saying has never rang truer. It is clear that there is an immense amount of power at our finger tips and it is so incredibly crucial to remember our responsibility to our youth in showing them how to wrangle that power and always use it for good. Not to mention, use it properly and safely too. SO…all that being said…do I think social media is ruining childhood???
Thanks for reading,
“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,
is no education at all.”