Back in my day….

I wore shorts in the middle of winter and never got cold.

I really did wear shorts (I’m pretty sure it a rebellious phase), I’m pretty sure I got cold- but I don’t remember feeling cold.

Is Social Media ruining childhood?

There are so many facets to this question.  Compared to who’s childhood and when?  What exactly does ‘ruin’ mean – and in who’s opinion counts in determining if it is in fact ruined?

“I think it’s natural to over-romanticize your childhood. That’s what nostalgia is all about. But I also know that [in the 70’s] we had smokers in every room of every family member’s house, every restaurant.” – Sandy Roffey

Ellen’s got it summed up nicely when she posits that humans continue to gain knowledge – and that includes the current generation!

In my opinion, this is exactly right!  Our knowledge continues to grow and evolve – and as such we know that somethings are dangerous now that wasn’t apparent years ago.  Adaptations should be made when we gain new knowledge, would it be acceptable knowing what we know now, to allow smoking in public establishments?  If not, then why are some lamenting about drinking from a potentially toxic hose?

Vision Media article shares that: Many parents lament the fact that it’s becoming very difficult to purchase “little girl” clothes. They say designers have simply shrunk teenage styles to fit younger girls.

One Australian parent says his 10-year-old daughter wants to dress in “as little as possible—summer or winter.” Her mother does not dress that way, neither does the family allow any magazines into the house that would encourage that sort of clothing.

The statements in the article continue to blame their child’s peer group (and Brittany Spears in one case) for their child’s desire to dress ‘provocatively’.

Two things come to mind with these statements:

1).  Why are we blaming peer (female) groups for the way girls are dressing and not questioning ad agencies, marketing campaign’s and pop culture?

2).  Why are we continuing to ‘blame’ girls and call them out on their choice of clothing?  There are societal issues which work to keep women and girls in an impossible state- women and girls are overtly sexualized in the media/advertisements etc., and then are blamed for their attire as if they’ve done something wrong when choosing it – how is it possible to make the ‘right’ choice?

There are certainly ways that young girls can dress, be ‘fashionable’ and yet appropriate. Additionally, I would say that the same holds true for boys – but are people crying out in protest about that?  Are some of today’s clothes for children more subdued and less ‘in your face’ shirts?  Yes, but does that mean there is a moral slump in the way our children behave?  Did I have a better child-hood because I walked around with a gaudy character on my shirt?

Is this feeling all a bit rant-y and unrelated to social media affecting child-hood today?

I can see how you would think that, but I can’t help but question blaming social media for the ‘moral decline’ people seem to think there is with “kids these days”.  As stated earlier, as a ‘species’ we have advanced our knowledge on an ongoing basis.  Social media is a by-product of that advancement.  We adapt as we learn – we don’t smoke in all places any longer, we don’t drink out of chemical laden products, etc, and we do so to improve the quality of life based upon our knowledge.

To me, blaming social media for the arbitrary “moral decline” which is apparently occurring is reminiscent of ‘shooting the messenger’.  It is the scape goat, used by those in power to place blame away from a real issue, which is social inequality that leads to the hyper-sexualization of our children and the objectifying of our young girls.

Social media is NOT ruining childhood, and I believe, that social media if harnessed and utilized correctly can actually be responsible for openness, growth and fostering global connections.


7 thoughts on “Back in my day….

  1. Hey! Thanks for the pingback!

    I agree with your post, especially the “blaming girls on their clothing choices part” I went to school with a girl who now lives in Toronto. She’s 26 years old and a working professional, who works in a fancy office every day. Yesterday she got called out on the subway for what she was wearing. Bystanders got involved and got mad at the person on her behalf. And then a middle-aged man started getting mad at the bystanders for “making him late for work” All of this took place between human beings communicating in person.

    Anyway, long story short, I agree that social media is the messenger, not the cause of this phenomenon. And my friend (who is a social media manager) would probably agree.

  2. Hey Amy! We should have hired you as a partner in our debate… you are very convincing for the disagree side! I completely agree with this whole “blame” culture that exists in our society. It seems as though we are always pointing fingers at other things that may be “destroying” our society rather than the dominant discourse we have when we speak of these problems. The fact is, we often blame the tools or the individuals, when we really need to look at the whole picture and see how our viewpoint needs to change. I guess we are going back a little bit to EC&I 822 with societal issues and problems that can arise! Thanks for the great post!!

    1. Thank for the support in my post Elizabeth! I worked on it for a long time but was on the fence about putting it out there because it will certainly come across as ranty!

      I know those more to the issue than inequalities and I turned it to a big picture issue!

      So I appreciate you sticking it out and reading my post!

  3. Thanks for these thoughts Amy. You’ve opened up a big can of worms for sure. It really comes down to $. Corporations are only interested in making money. Social media is like an amplifier as Erin Benjamin shared this week. Maybe not the root cause, but definitely brings all of societies ills to the forefront. Education around this topic is so important. Well said.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Luke! Yes, money is a driving force for sure. Thank you for also bringing up the idea of social media being an amplifier, it absolutely does work to make different problems more apparent, as we are much more connected more often!

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