As with most of our debate topics, Alec often says that he is split, as far as how he sits on the issue, and I think this is a feeling that many of us have towards these debates, and even more so when you are the one presenting. Even though I could see both sides of the argument when signing up for this topic, I felt that I was going to be better suited for arguing that Social Media is not ruining youth.
First of all, I had a blast debating this topic, and collaborating with Brittany Cooper for our debate. And also, I am appreciative of Bart and Valeska for being our opponents for the week. I had such a great time with this experience that I went back and watched the recording, and wanted to hear what others felt while both groups were sent off to create rebuttals and closing statements. Looking at the responses and conversations that happened, there is still much of the class that had a tough time deciding which way to lean.
So on to the post. I am going to build on Brittany and my argument as to why social media is not ruining youth, and what can we and parents do to help them navigate the world with this issue.
First, I would like to share our Opening Statement, for those that wish to have another look.
So when I’ve discussed my topic to co-workers, an analogy that they came up with was “We don’t give kids keys to a vehicle at 16 without training them prior to this, so why should this be any different than with technology and social media?” And it’s true. I can’t even begin to estimate the amount of hours and kilometers I spent before driving a car my first time, and this doesn’t include taking Drivers Education and practicing with a learners. Yet this type of teaching and introduction to a concept is not questioned, and as the world evolves and changes, we need to adapt to it, and teach our kids how to use things such as phones and social media, as they will soon be an extension of their selves. That was a really big point that Brittany and myself tried to get across in our debate, is that it is up to the adults help and teach youth on the proper ways to use social media, and in some cases, use filters and parental controls that help our students or kids to help navigate what can be a difficult terrain.
I am not putting on rose tinted glasses, and avoiding some of the issues that have been well known and brought up by Bart and Valeska in the debate, such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content and possible predators, but those can be mitigated with intervention from adults in these childs lives. If we create a sense of belonging with these students, they won’t need to look outwards for that sense of belonging or connection. It’s true that some of our students may feel left out in our communities, and need to search elsewhere for that sense of belonging, and that is what makes social media great. It breaks down these walls that these students feel are put up around them, and builds bridges to others who have similar interests and/or experiences. What was once a lonely place, allows them to connect with like-minded peers, regardless of geographical distances, nationalities or other obstacles that seperate them in real life.
One video that I found very interesting while preparing for this debate was a TED Talk of Eva Amin, who is a high school student from the USA, and gives a different viewpoint on social media, that not only can be useful for youth to see, but also adults, who can possibly re-evaluate their current methods of social media usage.
I believe that the way Eva uses social media is a good idea for others, not only in social media, but in day to day life. Surround yourself with positive people and choose someone you look up to, and strive to be like them, in hopes to achieve your goals.
While we shared one article in our Pre-Debate information, The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities, I would suggest looking at a few more that support our stance on the topic.
- Social media benefits and risks” pre-teens and teenagers
- Social media and teenagers
- Teens’ Social Media Habits and Experiences
- Surprising Ways Your Teen Benefits From Social Media
- Madeline Holcombe “Teens say their experience on social media is better than you think. Here’s why”
And here are a few links to websites that may also help answer some questions.
So all in all, this was a great experience. The ability to connect with a classmate and collaborate over the span of a month or so, to presenting our side of the debate, across from a great pairing of Bart and Valeska, to the joy of having this behind us. I wish those who still have to present luck, and to enjoy the process, and would like to thank those who have already given their debate another congratulations and well done.