I was able to resonate with this topic because it was similar or had many similarities to the topic I debated a few weeks ago. I do think social media has both negative and positive impacts on childhood that are worth looking into. However, even after a thorough look into social media I am still unable to come to a conclusion as to whether or not it is really ruining childhood.
Social media (internet in particular) has been to blame for children growing up too early. Children and expected to follow trends which in turn forces them to mature and grow rather than spend time being children. Social media as many of us know, has a major influence on our kids today. The things that students/children are able to see, follow, look up are sometimes positive but more often than not social media is portraying negative influences for our children. As a health/physical education advocate, I do believe that it is essential to find a positive role model, someone to look up to for support/guidance. In most instances the internet/social media is often portraying the wrong role models for our young men/women and children.
People always talk about “well when I grew up….” When my grandparents grew up technology wasn’t even on the radar. When my parents grew up they had a television with a few channels and a home phone. When I grew up we had television, internet, phone, cell phone, Nintendo game station etc. Not to undermine or devalue the importance of each individual’s life experience but we do need look at how society is evolved.
Technology has come a long way and has slowly been integrated into our world. Rather than constantly battling against it we need to find ways to incorporate it into our lives. I am not saying that everyone needs to be around technology 24/7. I do think technology does offer some positives and everything needs to be done in moderation. It is my goal to raise my son with the inclusion of technology and not to always say “well when I was younger we didn’t have that, you should be outside playing all the time like I was”. I want to teach my son and my students how to be good digital citizens. What a better time to start than now! Starting now will allow them the time to grow, learn and develop into these great human beings!
One really great point raise by the agree group was that cyberbullying is part of technology. Bullying has always been a part of our world, however, prior to technology students were able to leave school and the bullying would stay there. Now with technology they are constantly immersed in bullying and have no way of escaping. I don’t know what the answer is, other than working as a team. Between school and home we need to be working together and monitoring bullying. We need to be consistent in providing consequences which will hopefully get through to our kids that we are working as a team and bullying is not tolerated at school, at home or online!
Creating digital footprints (or permanent tattoos) has been a reoccurring theme throughout these debates. I do believe students are given an opportunity to create their digital footprint. I hope through our teaching and role modeling we will be able to provide them with the necessary tools to make good decisions online that will benefit them in their future rather than be detrimental.
Technology often leaves us feeling puzzled. When communicating through the use of technology it is hard to understand the tone of voice, sense of humor, body language etc. Face-to-face interactions are offer better opportunities to understand/see one’s body language, voice and tone in order to interpret the message being sent. From my own experience, I have had a friend message me and I remember thinking well that was kind of rude; however, that wasn’t her intent but because it was through text message I was unable to see/hear her tone, see her body language etc.
I think in order to keep social media from ruining our childhood we need to take advantage of teaching our students early on in life. There has been no set age limit for the use of technology and because we are not going to escape it any time soon, we may as well start teaching them to be good digital citizens before social media gets to them!
The disagree side did a wonderful job of counteracting the agree side. Some points that they discussed that I took away were:
- We need to evolve and change with the times (this generation’s childhood is different and should be different than our own)
- When used appropriately, social media enhances childhood (offers sense of belonging that they do not always find in their immediate surroundings). Easier to make friends online, more opportunities for peer to peer sharing and growth. Tool to showcase creativity.
- Essential tool for preparing kids for the future (technological, capable and global citizens)
- Social media allows them to do good in the world and think for themselves (more involved in world and establish networks for future growth and development)
- It teaches coping skills
- It does not ruin childhood, it compliments it, makes it more fun and interesting!
These are all valid points all of which I would agree! As a parent I do think technology is now a part of our society and we may as well take advantage of that and start teaching our children young. In order for our children to become good digital citizens it is pertinent that we start now. Technology has a lot to offer and as I have said over and over again, “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!!!”