Is social media ruining childhoods?

I have a few conflicting ideas about this. If you haven’t guessed I am a bit of a hopeless romantic when it comes to the past. So I am sure you can guess that side of me doesn’t care much for social media. I would love to see young people develop a sense of analog-self before taking on the pressure of navigating two worlds. Kids have enough going on in their lives before you throw in the added stress of maintaining an online persona.

Now before you start arguing with me… let me argue with myself. My Great Aunt Thelma is a published historian, author, poet and is generally pretty philosophical. She has always been a great influence on how I think about things, especially those associated with history. I remember we were having a conversation about something that related to “way things used to be” and her response has stuck with me through the years. She said “Brad, I have interviewed 5 generations of cowboys and ranchers and every single one of them think of themselves as the last of their kind”.

This statement can be used to describe social media as well. We are very romantic when thinking of the past and children outside playing and living carefree lives… But people have been saying that for 50 years… you know… since the children of the 60’s did something different than their parents.

Kids these days..

So are kids navigating a different landscape than we did growing up? certainly…does that make it worse? I don’t know… It certainly makes it different. Now, will today’s children ever grow up in our version of childhood? Unlikely.

So, should we be preparing children for a future that no longer exists? Or should we be working to try to create balance in their lives between digital and analog. We should be trying to understand the complexities of this new modern and ever-changing thing we call life.

Published by bradraes7578

Vice Principal at Prince Arthur in Moose Jaw, Sk.

5 thoughts on “Is social media ruining childhoods?

  1. Hi Brad, thanks for a great post!

    I really enjoyed your take on the issue, as most of us were thinking about the “good vs. bad” when it comes to Social Media, you explored a much deeper issue – the romanticism of the past. This is an excellent point when it comes to the issue of social media some of the main arguments against it typically start with “Kids today are no longer…” (insert complaint here). I’m sure every generation has had this complaint with kids – whether it was the computer (MSN Messenger), Video Games, TV, Walkman’s, etc. However, your comment regarding “are we preparing them for a future that no longer exists?” is another powerful thought. As Amy mentioned in her post, so many jobs today (and most likely in the future) rely on social media usage, (many companies hire social media reps or managers). If we try to ignore social media and remove it from kids today – how is that going to affect their future? I think you nailed in your conclusion as a balance is certainly key! Thanks again for the great read.

    Matt

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  2. Great post Brad, I agree with your thoughts on the need to create balance. I think there is a lot of skills that as educators we need to ensure that our students are getting because of the boom of technology. I think that it is crucial that we give students the time to interact with one another. we should focus on the skills of the 21st century. Communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. We can still use these skills in both an analog and a digital setting, and it prepares students for the future.

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  3. Brad, your Aunt Thelma’s response about “every rancher thinking they are the last of their kind” is such great insight. As we develop, both personally, industrially and technologically, we can look back to how things used to be, get caught up in the nostalgia and think of all the ways in which things were “better” before. Our reality is one we are most aware of. I think there are many gifts in the present, and so much to learn from the past. And being conscious of how we view “yesterday” as better is a great starting point because we can control ways in which we keep the things that were beneficial, but also be conscious of ways in which we have learnt and grown to be more inclusive, aware, connected. I love that insight as it forces me to consider what I am romanticizing, what I want to instill in my children and my students, and to be critical of the pitfalls so that I make fully informed decisions that best serve the needs of the community.

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