We heard some great arguments from both sides of the debate this week on whether or not social media is ruining childhood.
In their opening statement video, Melinda, Alyssa and Lori explain that social media could be contributing to depression in children and causing risky behaviour online such as sexting. They also state that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain is not fully developed in children. This part of the brain is responsible for decision-making and social behaviour, therefore social media is not appropriate for children. Cyberbullying, negative and permanent digital footprints and online predators are all reasons why children should not be using social media.
On the disagree side, Erin, Brooke and Daniel have many great points in their opening statement video. They explain that social media in fact strengthens relationships and creates a sense of belonging because we are now able to interact with the world in ways we couldn’t in the past. Social media is described as a means of support for children dealing with challenges in their lives. They explain that social media can encourage learning by combining facts with reflections. Social media is also a means for children to make the world a better place. This team explains that social media is a tool that requires adults to educate youth on appropriate ways it can be used.
Upon further reading, I came across Helen Knauf’s article explaining the use of social media in a Kindergarten classroom. The teacher in this classroom uses social media as a way to connect classroom learning with the wider community. Social media is used as a communication and learning tool with parents and people throughout the world. The young children in this classroom are not left to use social media on their own, their teacher is directly supervising the use and the content that is going back and forth. In this sense, I feel that social media is benefiting the children’s learning and confidence.
In Michael Niehoff’s article, he points out 9 great ways that high school students are using social media to further their learning. Collecting data, projecting their digital portfolios and ideas, as well as collaborating with peers and seeking support from teachers and experts are all wonderful benefits for the use of social media in the classroom.
Children and teens using social media strictly for school purposes seems to be a positive tool. However, social media can creep into everyday personal lives and that is where there is a problem!
Gwen Schurgin O’Keeffe and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson discuss the benefits and risks to children and teens in their article, The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. The risks are high for cyberbullying to occur on social media sites without the knowledge of parents. I love the idea put forth in their article, to have regular family meetings about social media rules and the topics that are being discussed online. Parents need to be proactive and talk to their children before challenges arise. However, if cyberbullying goes unchecked it can have dangerous consequences.
So where do I stand on this debate? I have included a vlog below with my personal thoughts. I would love to know where you stand! Comment below with your thoughts, ideas and experiences using social media with students and/or your children at home.