Social Media is NOT Ruining Childhood – A Debate Reflection

The Debate

Check out the entire debate above.

The Intro Video

Our Intro Video

The Results Are In

Pre-vote 60% Agreed and 40% Disagreed – Social Media is Ruining Childhood
Post Debate Results Agreed 50% Disagree 50%
Twitter Poll – Click on Image above to see thread.

A Few Words of Reflection

It’s a fact that social media has become woven in the fabric of not only youth today, but society as a whole. So instead of slamming the use of social media by children, we need to understand it ourselves and model positive use.  Contrary to other forms of media that are also accused of ruining childhood such as TV or radio, social media provides a platform in which youth can connect, create, and collaborate. There is potential to help children create intentional and positive digital identities.  Why would we not take the opportunity while they are in the midst of forming their own opinions and understanding of what social media is ‘supposed to be’, and not only protect them from the pitfalls that are present in this medium but unlock the opportunities that are there to ‘to follow their passions, follow inspirational people, connect with people in careers they are interested in, and make a positive difference in their communities?’ Many youth that are already tapping into this potential and are not only improving their own childhoods (and setting themselves for success in the future) but making a positive difference in society.  Here are a few of the exemplars given Michelle Wrona, Aidan Aird, Timmy Sullivan, Hannah Alper ,Olivia Van Ledtje, and Curran Dee.  There will be many that will attack social media as a harbour of bad such as bullying, FOMO, and unrealistic expectations.  These were present before social media, but the huge difference is our ability to sit quietly in the background but have a voice and a choice which when you look at society today is something that needs to be fostered and not stifled. 

My Take on the Great Debate

Great Debate Resources

Check out the Great Debate Resources (click on image below) that we curated for this debate including our introductory remarks video and the resources from our worthy opponents.

Thank You To My Debate Partner

Thanks to Amy McDonald. What a great partner for this great debate. Check out her blog and her take on the great debate –


9 thoughts on “Social Media is NOT Ruining Childhood – A Debate Reflection

  1. Thank you for the great debate Dean!
    It was a fun topic to discuss. There was so much research around this topic-maybe not the ‘childhood’ part if you classify childhood as 0-9ish. There was a lot of research on the effects of technology in this age group but not specifically ‘social media’.
    I learned a lot from researching this statement and debating against you! Thank you for having fun with it, you definitely kept us on our toes!
    Christina 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was fun but more importantly as in basically all these debates there needs to be awareness and a willingness to invest time and energy to create positive experiences. We need conversations like these to create an environment where we can feel better about the future. Thanks for pushing my thinking and understanding of this and the other topics.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. He Dean, I really liked that you expanded your research for this debate by creating a twitter pole that allowed individuals who are not taking ECI830 the opportunity to share their opinions. I also found it really interesting that the results from your own twitter pole were similar to the results that we had in class. From our debate, I could tell that you are passionate about this topic, as you brought up many great examples of how young people are able to connect to others who are similar to them. Great job on your debate.


    1. The twitter poll was interesting and great way to tap into my pln. I was also a little surprised by the results as I thought more would be in favour as we were doing the poll using social media and most people on here fairly tech savy. That being said they probably really understand the challenges that go along with social media. Just like you focused on the word ban we tried to focus on ‘ruining’ and also that only ‘social media’ is doing that. We need to do a better job in education of providing students with tools and mindsets to harness the potential of social media (it’s not going away – so let’s make a plan with social media too).


  3. Dean, knowing you professionally and personally for many years now I am not surprised at your point of view. I was also not surprised with the passion, zeal and detailed information you shared during the debate and rebuttal. I agree with you that Social Media creates many opportunities for students to learn, to amplify voices, to connect and to further their personal belief systems. It is through that potential that was must also be mindful that students are being critical viewers, they are challenging their beliefs (not perpetuating confirmation bias), they are able to maintain a balance and keep note of their mental well-being. We are asking a lot of the youth today, I know they are up for the challenge, but I also know it is critical we model the skills, the positives and negatives that come with 21st Century learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the well thought out and thought provoking reply. Modeling is very important and many stakeholders (parents, teachers, media) have a responsibility to help youth navigate these waters.


  4. Thank YOU for being such a great (and patient) partner with this newbie! Going through this debate with you taught me so much, and I am grateful for everything you shared with me (like Wakelet – how cool is that?). It was a lot of fun working on this project with you, and our opponents made it even more interesting with their great defence.


    1. Right back at you Amy. I appreciate the work, perspectives, and trying a new things you put into the project. Also agree that our ‘opponents’ did a great job as well. These debates have been excellent and I feel we are all better educators and better equipped to navigate, understand, and harness the potential educational technology offers. I really feel this is a course that all teachers should take (at least pre-service teachers – would help so many aspiring teachers as they go forth in what I think is the best (and ever evolving) career in the world).


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