Social Media & Childhood

This weeks debate was definitely the hardest one for me to choose a side on.  I went into the debate agreeing with the statement that “Social media is ruining childhood”.  I must say, I am definitely torn and I truly see the positive aspects to Social Media (SM), however because parenting and educating has not caught up in regards to informing our youth, in my opinion, I do still agree that SM is ruining childhood.

giphy (1)

Via Giphy

Now, let me start off with saying that I do not think that this applies to every single kid and that every single parent and teacher is the worst, blah blah blah.  I don’t believe that at all.  I simply believe that we are making great strides to navigating how to inform and educate our students and children on digital citizenship, however we aren’t quite there yet.

Lori makes great points in her blog this week, especially in regards to how she has luckily been able to step in before her son participated in some very dangerous acts circulating online (THANK GOODNESS!).  I believe if I had taken this course even a year ago, before having my daughter, I might have some different opinions about this topic.  I also believe if I were not a teacher I might have different opinions as well.

So, I definitely do see the positive aspects to SM use.  The disagree group shared this article from The New York Times, which shares aspects that are without a doubt positive sides to SM use.  Such as how much it allows for people to discuss important topics, such as those that were previously taboo or “not normal” which are now openly discussed and give students a safe place to feel apart of.  For example, different races, cultures, sexual orientations. SM also helps youth build their own perception of the world and beliefs.

This article, also provided from the disagree group shows the positives of allowing students the power to broadcast to the world, offers support for those who feel like an “other”, and provides a powerful example of how an online forum allowed for peers to talk someone down from committing suicide.  What I disagree with in this article is that SM strengthens friendships.  I have this argument often with people who are like “Why don’t you have SnapChat or Instagram?” “How do you know what your friends have been up to?” (FYI, I CALL THEM!), because seeing someone’s “story”, on Instagram or SnapChat, may keep you in the know of what that person is doing it doesn’t truly strengthen the friendship.  It just informs you.

A controversial example, which is currently very popular in high schools is the Netflix series  13 Reasons Why.  A book and now series that are intended to start the conversations of many extremely important topics.  It is told that it cam glamorize suicide.  Parents refuse to let kids watch the show and schools ban the book.  How does this help by hiding it?  I understand that there are very graphic scenes and tough topics discussed in this series, but it is an attempt to bring those to the forefront.  The cast and production have many great resources delving deeper into why they want to open the discussion of these topics, this video is only 1 of many!


Via Giphy

Yes, some of you may be feeling like this (^) thus far, but here me out.

The agree group had some great arguments, and one in which I definitely agree with is that social media does not help build relationships, in fact it is detrimental to students building key skills for relationship building.

This article provided many examples of the negative impacts of SM including, but not limited to:

  • Emotional and social development is still forming in youth and SM impacts it greatly.
  • Addiction to and sleep deprivation.
  • Many parents cannot keep up with the ever-changing apps and social media networks.

Now, I believe everyone has done something stupid at some point in their life. However, a digital footprint and risks of privacy should be addressed and need to be taught and discussed.

Many great tips emerged from the articles and discussion in Monday’s debate.  Some of which can be used both at home and in the classroom are:

  • Discuss with families or students the need for a family online-use plan that involves regular family meetings to discuss online topics and checks of privacy settings and online profiles for inappropriate posts. The emphasis should be on citizenship and healthy behavior and not disciplinary action.
  • “Instead of telling them “no,” which can often “be like the forbidden fruit” scenario, Meyers said, talking with the kid about why they’re feeling they need to take part can lead to a deeper discussion about decision-making and online behaviours.” – 
  • These 2 visuals are great for use in a class for discussion and for easy clarification:


Via The Dance Exec


Via The New Daily

Until there is constant and consistent balance of use then I have to say that SM ruins childhood by exposing kids to inappropriate content much too early.  Once all children are using appropriate media at appropriate stages in their life, all the while responsibly then I will 100% see the positive side to SM use; enhancing creativity, growth of ideas through creation of blogs/vlogs/podcasts/etc., expansion of ones interest through online connections, fostering one’s individual identity and unique social skills, and opportunities for community engagement through raising money for charity and volunteering for local events, including political and philanthropic events.

I love this topic because there are so many great opinions and I believe they change daily/weekly/yearly.  I truly hope we can get to point where we can use SM solely (mostly) for the positive sides that it does have! I cannot wait to hear what everyone has to say!

Bring on the discussions and open the dialogue to help our children and students!

Via Giphy


2 thoughts on “Social Media & Childhood

  1. Great post Kristen! I really loved your opinion and I agree with you that if I were not a teacher, I would probably have a different opinion on the topic. I wrote my blog thinking social media doesn’t ruin childhood, but now after reading yours, my opinion is swayed yet again! I think you make a great point about 13 Reasons Why as well. It does have the potential to glorify the issues, but at the same time, at least we are talking about them! It’s better than leaving them in the dark because they should be at the front of our minds, and should be able to discussed openly. I also agree that social media exposes children to many topics, ideas, and content much too early and makes them grow up too fast! I even think of the make-up I wore as a 13-year-old, compared to the 13-year-olds now! A funny example, but also exposes just how much has changed and how fast children have grown up because of social media. Balance is key as in everything else; and I hope we can achieve it sooner rather than later, but I think the pendulum is swinging back and hopefully stays there!


    • I completely agree with you both when you say that social media exposes children to content and ideas that are inappropriate for their developmental levels way too early. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a colleague about how anything goes for clothing these days in schools. We do not have a dress code at our high school that is enforced and sometimes it seems completely crazy to me that girls are walking down the hallways with crop tops or tube tops on. Again, I think it is easy to point our fingers at the students and wonder why they think it is appropriate to wear such a thing in a school environment, but ultimately they are exposed to photos of women wearing these outfits daily, even hourly, via social media sites. It is “normalised” for them at such a young age!


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