Our debate topic for this week was “social media is ruining childhood”. Before the debate, when I first saw this statement, my first response was “of course”.
After reading my classmate Shelby’s post, I understood more why my response was like that. I actually realized that I am one of those who see the enjoyable memories before technology took its place. we, who’s social media was chatting in the backyards and playgrounds, consider technology destructive to the creativity we enjoyed when we were children.
The agree and disagree teams brought very important ideas. the agree team highlighted, for example, how social media causes depression and enhances unhealthy behaviors. At
the same time, the disagree team focused on how social media strengthens relationships, forms the digital identity and encourages learning. After listening to both of them, my mind switched from the “of course” to the ” now what?”. Looking back to my experience and from this debate, I can say that we should admit social media’s advantages in terms of inclusion and authenticity if it is used in balance.
While it is true I agreed with the topic at first, the disagree team was so convincing to the extent that they were an eyeopener to see how inclusive social media is. Thinking deeply, what if we try to use social media effectively? The first advantage is that it keeps students connected. In other words, students can use social media to have instant access to the information, tasks and assignments they have. No more excuses like absent pupils or sick students. Also, updates can reach all the students while using social media groups. Whatever teachers want to let their students know, they can use do that easily with social media tools. Another advantage is it keeps students collaborative with each other. During group homework and assignments, students can keep in touch to share ideas for better work. That is found in “9 ways real students use social media for good” which used in the debate. Michael Niehoff used this article to show how good for students if they use social media. The author indicates to 9 ways:
1- Sharing tools and resources. 2- Gathering survey data. 3- Collaborating with peers. 4- Participating in group work. 5- Communicating with teachers. 6- Researching careers. 7- Meeting with mentors and experts. 8- Showcasing student work. 9- Creating digital portfolios.
As an educator, I really want to apply all of these in my class using social media to make sure everything is covered by all the students.
Furthermore, social media is like a snowball. It is an unstoppable trend. Nowadays, we can not ban our children from using it because it permeates almost every aspect of their lives. Unlike my childhood, children use social media now to play, read, watch, communicate…. . I think it is smart to use it as an authentic material in the class. I used to teach English for grade 5 and 6 students. After noticing that most of the students were spending their time on their cellphones, two other teachers and me tried to give students group homework where they should use one of the social media messengers, upon their choice, as a tool for communication. We, the teachers, told the students that they can communicate only in English. The teachers were the admins of the groups. Observing the discussions, me and the other teachers noticed that was very helpful for learning English as a second language. Students wrote and read each other’s paragraphs, recorded and listened to each other’s recorded voice messages. It was very interactive and nontraditional especially when it came to practicing a new language. They could use what they daily and most use in learning purposes.
After talking about its benefits, back to the topic, is social media still ruining childhood? Yes, it does if it is used excessively. Although children have it widely in their lives, they should have time without it. Truth to be said, I am still affected by the creativity I had when was young without social media. Therefore, I still believe that many people consider social media is a destructive invention but, again, answering whether social media is ruining childhood or not depends on us. In other words, as it is a huge trend, we can contextualize its usage the way we want to make the best out of it so that it supports childhood instead of ruining it.