Debate #5: Social media is Ruining Childhood

Ruining: to spoil or destroy something completely. Foremost, is social media really destroying childhood entirely? Perhaps the use of the word ruin is a bit of a leap. I believe there are downfalls to social media, but there are also acceptable applications. When I think of social media I immediately think of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and Snapchat, although there are other platforms of social media that are arguably enhancing the learning of children. I was initially on the agree side, and then consequently questioning if I was comparing what childhood should be based on with my own experiences in mind, and as a result refusing the change that is amongst today’s youth. A commonality in the debate was what childhood should be: playing and socializing with friends (in person) OUTSIDE. Does childhood look like that these days? If not, then it is not as accepting by people that grew up in the time span where children were outside playing all day long with their friends. Who is to say my childhood was better than the childhood of children today? In all honesty, I have had these thoughts, and on occasion voiced that I would not want to be a child growing up in today’s society with the copious amounts of technology.

Photo by Victoria Borodinova on

Within the education system we use social media platforms like Edsby, Seesaw, and YouTube to help share information to students. Are these platforms ruining childhood or enhancing childhood? I loved the analogy of the swimming pool from the disagree side, and this idea resonated with me the most. We are slowly teaching children how to swim at a younger age, rather than throwing them into the deep end of the waters. Likewise, educators are using social media platforms to enhance learning and slowly integrate social media into the lives of youth positively!

Conversely, there are negative aspects effecting youth in terms of social, mental and physical development, as Bizieff attests to in their article. Alternatively, is the sole fault of social media ruining childhood rest on those platforms alone? I challenge that idea, and not only question, but state IF social media is ruining your child’s childhood you as a parent have to reevaluate the use of social media in your home. This issue was brought up in the debate about where does the role of parents in social media lie, and I believe we, like any other moving parts in the past (TV), still have to monitor and limit time spent sitting in front of the TV or watching our phones. I wonder when the TV first came out if people from that era believed that the TV was creating lazy children, and in turn was ruining childhood? I can just see the advertisements now…

Television Is Ruining Childhood and Making Children LAZY!

Society adjusts to various different technologies that have been introduced over the years like the radio, printing press, TV, Internet, social media, and cell phones. When these technologies were first introduced it was met with skepticism and the unknown.

Harmful Impacts of Social Media

Social media is not all sunshine and rainbows as the agree side projected their research and views. The reasons why the agree side attested that social media is ruining childhood is:

  • takes away from children playing outside
  • ruins imagination
  • opportunity to meet friends in person – I would argue social skills and social anxiety is more prominent
  • robs children of their authentic life – what is an authentic life? Childhoods we are used to when we grew up?
  • cyberbullying
  • victims of predators – teaching children about the threats and dangers would help reduce the risks
  • false news & marketing – isn’t this just news in general anyway based on perspectives?

Is social media the cause of all of the points above? Conversely, I believe that social media enhances imagination, as children can research and watch how to projects or DIYs, for example. The world is at their fingertips as they have more knowledge now than ever! If anything I would argue there is too much information and can be an information overload! If given the choice between technology and play the Mike Walsh video argues they will choose technology. Technology is evolving daily, and children do not get bored with technology perhaps even enhancing their imagination.

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Regarding the increase of victims of predators, if parents are not teaching children the risks of social media they lack awareness, and could potentially fall into this horrendous trap. So, who do we blame? Technology? Social media? Parenting? Lack of education and/or awareness? Back to the swimming analogy, do we blame the swimming pool if a child drowns? No, rather we look to the parents/supervisor of the child of the time and the lack of education/practice (lessons) the child had. So why are we blaming social media for ruining childhood?

Concluding Thoughts

As a society we struggle with the unknown or the unfamiliar. Social media is something most people never grew up with, and it is challenging for others to see children not playing outside, but rather playing video games, watching YouTube videos, or even scanning through TikTok or Instagram. If we look back amongst generations there were a plethora of new things that could potentially “ruin” childhood. The television, printing press, computers, internet are all examples that generations questioned the ruining of childhood, as they entered the space of the unknown.

Social media is here to stay and is expanding daily. We, as a society, better hang on tight and rather than stop the roller coaster from rolling embrace the ups, downs, twists and turns, as our youth depends on us!

2 thoughts on “Debate #5: Social media is Ruining Childhood

  1. Brittney it is interesting that you brought up the quantity of information bombarding children. I think this vast amount of information is making it harder and harder for adults (let alone children) to discern what is reputable. I think this can lead to an “information paralysis” where it is difficult to make choices and take action. It is like watching Netflix, I have so much choice that I can’t make a decision, but when I was at a video store as a kid and there were only a few new releases the decision was relatively easy.

    At the end of your blog you make the point that we don’t blame the pool if a child drowns, and in some cases we do sue the owners of the pool if negligence in its management led to death or injury. I think that social media companies will eventually become accountable for not taking swifter action when they are alerted to problems, especially if the case gains national level attention.


  2. I too think that social media is going to be around for longer than some may want or like. I think we have to teach kiddos how to be good digital citizens and make decisions after weighing the risks of those said decisions. Instead of telling kiddos to stay away from everything (because we know how that works), we should be teaching them netiquette and how to conduct themselves online.


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