Is Social Media Ruining Childhood?

This week’s debate topic in #eci830 with Alec was, Is Social Media Ruining Childhood?

I seen this Bill Murray picture and quote on Facebook this week, how fitting for the topic!

Brooke, Erin and Danial put up a good fight in this weeks debate and raised many good points. However, while one can argue that there are certain benefits of social media for kids, Allysa, Lori and myself felt the risks still outweigh the benefits.

As educators, we need to inform children to see what dangers exist in social media and encourage them that there are healthier forms of entertainment, such as playing outside with friends or sports activities.

Social media can amplify the effects on young people’s natural tendency to risk taking and fuels the notions of overnight internet fame or instant popularity (such as the Tide pod challenge).  This is the perfect storm for childhood to have a permanent negative digital footprint and having lasting effects on their future without even knowing it.

As we discussed in our debate this week, research shows a link between cyber bullying and low self-esteem, depression, family problems, academic difficulties, school violence and various delinquent behavior. I was reading a article by Jamie Doward: Revealed: the more time that children chat on social media, the less happy they feel , which has some statistics about the amount of kids that use social media and the effects that it has. Doward wrote, “The amount of time that children between eight and 11 and those aged 12-15 spend online has more than doubled in a decade,” (Doward, 2017). Kids, young kids, and teens are constantly on a device and many are on some sort of social media. Much of our research proved this.  This article also mentioned, “… cyberbullying could be another explanation for links between unhappiness and children’s use of social media. ‘There’s evidence the longer young people spend online the more likely they are to be victims of bullying,’” (Doward, 2017).  Some kids might not even realize what they are saying is considered cyber bullying, but it is and could have life threatening affects. We as educators and parents have our work cut out for us. Therefore, if there is going to be continue access for kids to social media, then we need to educate everyone better. Also, I really believe that limiting the use of the internet and electronics is very important in the home and in the school setting. There needs to be a balance, kids need to be kids and play outside, rough house, interact, etc. They don’t need to have 24/7 screen time, they need to be active and imaginative.

Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, & Response This article expertly discusses what cyber bullying is, how it happens and what negative effects can occur. Some stats are provided and comparison is made between cyber bullying and traditional bullying. Obstacles for the prevention of cyber bullying such as outright dismissal or denial by parents, teachers and law enforcement. Teachers as well as parents need to better monitor their kids online/social media behaviors. 

Social media is meant for ‘entertainment purposes’.  It doesn’t make children smarter or teach life skills; nor is it needed for healthy social development. It is pure entertainment attached to a marketing platform. Many social media sites display multiple advertisements such as banner, behavior, and demographic-based ads that influence not only the buying tendencies of preadolescences and adolescents but also their views of what is “normal”. Such powerful influences start as soon as children begin to go online and post. 

The bottom line here is, technology and social media are not going away anytime soon, or ever! Therefore,  it is critical to educate parents, children, and adolescents about their practices so that children can develop into media-literate consumers and understand how advertisements can easily manipulate them.

During this week’s debate, Wendy spoke up about how social media has changed adults as well. She discussed how they are worried about how a picture will look to others as well as if this picture get enough “likes”. When we started our group debate topic, I made this clip that we were maybe going to use during our opening statement. However, we didn’t have time to include it. I think it reflect just what Wendy was talking about as well as how social media is effecting everyone!

I leave you with this short clip this week. Thank you for reading!