Both groups presented tremendous arguments and rebuttals on this topic, and I was teetering on both sides throughout the debate. I believe many generations do not fully comprehend what it is like to live in the generation that follows theirs. It is easy to look at present day social media as ruining childhood because they are attached to their devices, feel a sense of validity and success when they receive “Likes” and crushing disappointment when the do not. Prior to this, people believed childhood was being ruined due to children playing video games and not playing in the street with their friends. Well, many of those children received full-ride scholarships to university because of their gaming and that set them up for their future. Prior to that, people believed rock music was warping their children’s minds and ruining their childhood. Prior to that, people believed the generation following them was not as hard working, compared to when they were growing up and they had 10 siblings who mended the farm to help their families survive. This cycle will continue to evolve in the future, with past generations not fully understanding the present. The point I am making, is that it is easy to point the finger at social media platforms and blame it for ruining childhood. There are valid points one can make for this argument, like bullying, online predators, internet trolls, etc. All of this is horrible, despicable behavior from those who partake in that sort of thing, but all of this has been around forever. It has essentially evolved with the times.
With the exception of Twitter, that I use as a news outlet, I HATE social media. When I share my views to people about this, I get the same responses over, and over again: “You’re like a grumpy old man.” “You’re crusty.” “How do you survive without it?” Well, quite frankly, I could not care less about the pictures of the supper some feel the need post, the selfie with a cup of Tim Hortons coffee informing everyone that you burnt your tongue, the complaints about the price of gas, or the Trump loving fanatics I have not seen since high school who feel the need to post a picture of their new MAGA clothing. It is all meaningless to me. However, it is not meaningless to the children who are using these platforms. The addictiveness of social media is worrisome, obviously, and so is the bullying that occurs. However, social media is not going anywhere. It is something that we need to live with and teach students about their digital footprint, and how the things one posts on social media is there forever. They need to be taught the intricacies and nuances or proper social media use.
Just because I am not a huge proponent of using social media myself, does not mean I think it is ruining childhood. I do not understand the need for “Likes” or to post every waking moment of your life on social media, but many individuals do. I cannot say it is ruining childhood just because I do not understand it. Do I think my childhood that consisted of riding bikes and shooting hoops all day was more exciting? Definitely, but this is a new world and children will need to navigate their way through the social media day and age.
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