This week marks our second last debate and that is kind of a scary thought! Where has this semester gone?! It has just flown by!Crazy Crazy!! Any who, back to the point of this. This week’s debate focused on whether or not social media is ruining childhood. Shantel and Cassidy both did a fantastic job arguing their sides but in the end I have to say I think I disagree. I think social media is doing something for the greater good.
Like anything, social media has its pros and cons but what is it doing to childhood. Social media is one of the main sources for news, communication and entertainment that kids are turning to today. Let’s start off by taking a look at the con side which was presented by Shantel. She shared an interesting article called The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. One of the risks children are exposed to when using social media is cyberbullying and online harassment. This is a huge concern today because kids find it a lot easier to bully and taunt someone from behind a screen than to their face. They do not think of the consequences that will follow after hitting send. Another risk that goes along with that is sexting. Many teens (and even some adults) don’t always think about the potential consequences before they press send. Sometimes those photographs end up in the wrong hands, or in the hands of someone who isn’t who you think they are. Cases such as Amanda Todd’s show the potential outcome of sending these types of things and what happens if they end up in the wrong hands. Some other risks of being on social media include: privacy concerns, digital footprint on their future, manipulation from advertisements.
As for the pro side (a.k.a Cassidy’s argument) which most people tend to forget about because they are so focused on the negatives. One major pro of social media is that it allows us to communicate in ways that were never possible before. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of those sites allow us to keep in touch with people that we may not always see face to face. I personally, use Facebook Messenger to keep in contact with two friends (one lives in Stony Rapids and the other lives in England). We have a group chat on Messenger and I talk to them off and on all day through it! Snapchat is one that gets a lot of flack for being bad but just the other day, my brother got a phone call on Snapchat from a buddy because a friend of theirs was stuck in the ditch and needed to be pulled out. Well his friend had gotten a new phone thus losing my brother’s number, yet Snapchat was there to save the day! If we think of this in a more school age context, just think of when a student moves away. When I was in school, once they moved away you never really heard from them again. Now that is basically eliminated due to social media! A student at my school moved away and her former classmates Snapchat and text her on and off all day. Something that was not possible before. People today just prefer to text or email over having a face to face or even an on the phone conversation. I am a huge fan of texting but I know there are certain times when I need to just phone. Some things are hard to explain in a text which is why at my summer job of managing the town swimming pool, I tell my staff to always call rather than text because I can explain things better on the phone and so can they. So communication is just one pro and there are so many others. Some others include: building self confidence, ability to create positive change, learn new skills. These are all elaborated on in this article as well as this one that Cassidy shared!
So overall, I think that social media isn’t so much ruining childhood but changing the way it was. You could say that it is creating a different childhood. But if you look at history, there is always something that is going to come along and change childhood. I didn’t have the same childhood as my parents, who didn’t have the same childhood as their parents, who didn’t have the same childhood as their parents and it goes on and on. Something is always going to come along and change how childhood is experienced. Social media is doing that and when it comes to the risks, we need to educate children to hopefully lower their chances of being affected by those risks. And like I said at the start of this, I think social media is doing something good here and I don’t think it is going anywhere either.