Another hot and hard debate we had this week. “Is social media running our childhood.” Tough question, right? If you asked me this question before taking Alec’s classes, I would definitely say Yes. Now, I would say I am on edge.
Maybe as Kalyn mentioned in the class, it is something new that we didn’t grow up using, so we are not entirely comfortable seeing our kids on it all the time. However, I see the difference in my kids’ attention span, productivity, communication, creativity skills with and without the social media. When there is no access to the wifi, my kids talk to each other and to us. They go to the basement and dig deep for art supplies and create some beautiful pieces. They would go outside and play together; Soccer, Basketball, Badminton, Trampoline or bikes or anything else that they come up with. When wifi is on, everything changes like they are different people. They don’t talk to us, and everyone is alone with his/ her device, which precisely what was outlined in the article Disadvantages of Social Networking: Surprising Insights from Teens.
Based on the article, Tech companies use “persuasive design” to get us hooked. Psychologists say it’s unethical.” The “Streaks” feature of Snapchat immediately came to my mind. My kids and many other kids I know would do anything to keep their streaks. They would sacrifice their privacy and even give their password to friends if we are travelling or don’t have access to wifi, to maintain those streaks.
My main concern I have is that our relationship with social media can quickly become an addiction. I notice that on myself sometimes. Especially when I am away from home or from the regular routine with the kids and family, I can spend most of my time on social media following what I missed. Needless to say, my kids are always on their mobiles, especially during the Summer holidays and those long days of quarantines.
On the other hand, we all agree that social media helps expand kids’ horizons. We can’t deny the importance of allowing the kids to use the languages and tools of their generation. Social media keeps students connected with their (learning, educational, practice and interest) communities. My kids, during the COVID-19, were notified, through social media, of events, seminars, and play sessions that happen across the country, and they attended some. I find it hard to be able to do that with SMS or email. Not only that, but it allows them to be directly connected to experts and sources of information and knowledge from across the world. For us, a family that moved to Canada from overseas, social media offers a very effective way of keeping in touch with family and friends back there. These are excellent features with profound impacts. Technology is here to only grow and expand.
As was mentioned in the class, I think used in *moderation* is the key. In the time of magazines, TV and Radio, we didn’t read, watch and listen to them 24/7. They were part of our lives, but not all of it.