Social Media and Its Effects On Childhood

social media

“social media” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I found this week’s debate topic to be incredibly pertinent to today’s society. Both teams made valid claims for and against the argument that social media is ruining childhood. On the agree side Laurie and Christina pointed out how social media use is detrimentally affecting the mental health of today’s youth, as well as being responsible for exposing students to content that is beyond their years. In addition, they demonstrated how social media is resulting in the “FOMO” or Fear of Missing Out phenomenon and how most often parents are left unaware of what their children are doing on social media. While a person’s brain is not fully developed until they are in their early 20’s, these issues are disconcerting.

Disagreeing with the statement that “social media is ruining childhood” Amy and Dean pointed out how through the use of social media people have access to more open communication, it provides a platform for creativity and provides a way for students to stay connected. It has also opened up new job opportunities as many companies are hiring people specifically to monitor and present information about the company via social media. As with many things in life I feel that too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing.

I found the article Disadvantages of Social Networking: Surprising Insights from Teens that Laurie and Christina shared to really resonate with me. The article examines essays written by grade 10 students about how they feel social media has affected their communication with others. One student is quoted saying ” there has been a dramatic decrease in face to face communication, which reduces our generations ability to interact with others on a speaking level”. The article points out how the students felt that social media has diminished their understanding of people’s feelings, has created a skewed sense of self image for them and has resulted in feelings of disconnectedness even within the family unit. The article points out that research has shown that if people monitor their social media use and limit themselves to only going on social media platforms for 30 minutes a day, they will feel significantly better than those who use social media for longer periods of time.

Personally, I feel that social media use does have the potential to ruin childhood. However, I do believe that through education and moderation social media can be an effective means through which children can communicate and have fun with their peers. I think that both parents and educators have an important job in helping children understand both the benefits and drawbacks of social media use. I think as adults we have to recognize that this new way of communicating won’t be going away anytime soon and that although social media is relatively new to us all, we are responsible for helping to ensure children are using this means of communication in a positive way.

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