Get on board.
In case you hadn’t figured it out, I was on the disagree side for the debate “Is Social Media Ruining Childhood?” along with the amazing Elizabeth!
Our awesome introduction video is here:
To reinforce a few points, I really believe in the “childhood is subjective” argument that we used.
Everyone has rose coloured glasses on when it comes to their own childhood.
It’s why we have the stereotype of an older person telling children “back in my time…” That stereotype is such a supported one because, as a generation, we tend to dislike the generation that comes after us. Or even before us.
Photo Credit: Generational Differences in Technology
Just think back to your grandparents or parents talking about new forms of music, or different styles of dressing – older generations usually are not fond of the new generation’s ideas or ideals. It’s parodied now – “Look at those saggy pants!” “I can’t believe they listen to this garbage!” “All they do is take selfies!” These are all things that I’ve heard in some aspect by members of different generations, about others (and generally younger).
So to think that we are ruining childhood because of the advancements is a crazy notion. We get smarter and smarter as we go and this generation is no exception.
Photo Credit: freepik.com
While I am not advocating for continuous screen time, I do think that creating a positive online digital presence with our kids is important. It’s an important skill for them to learn and it’s a useful teaching tool for parents. It’s important to be part of the conversation about social media with children and to guide them in appropriate use. That might mean learning a little bit more about the online world first, but generally, when parents are scared of something, that fear results in a lack of knowledge for children. This contributes to the bullying issue that was raised in the debate. Unfortunately, bullying might happen with or without technology. Teaching kids how to respond to that negativity is better than ignoring it.
And, I feel like the more we tell students that “social media is ruining their childhood,” the more they want to use it and maybe even use it inappropriately. It’s also why teenagers are drawn to risk, as a way to stimulate their brains. Social media might be another way they are drawn to a “risk.” We need to do all we can to help them navigate that tool like we would with any other thing they were interested in. If we don’t teach them these skills and, instead are fearful of ‘what could happen’ we can actually do more damage to our children.
“Paradoxically,” the psychologists write, “we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.”
Quote Source: New York Times
As we know, the connections that are created and the world that opens up with social media is incredible. If children and teenagers are taught to use these outlets correctly, they can be a part of true change, which is kind of amazing.