My kids are three years apart in age. They had different experiences with social media growing up. I think “My Space” appeared when my son was in junior high and he didn’t have a smart phone. Kids in his class got in trouble for bullying and posting content that wasn’t considered appropriate.
If I remember correctly, my son got his first iphone for high school graduation. Facebook, My Space and whatever else was popular back then wasn’t a significant part of his life.
My daughter on the other hand had friends with iphones as early as third grade. I think we held off until she was 13 or 14.
At the pool, whether it was swim practice or meets, before the advent of smart phones, the kids would all hang out together under pop-up tents and play word games, cards or Catchphrase. The high school kids would play alongside the middle and elementary school-aged kids. I loved that about swim team.
By the time my daughter was in high school, everyone sat like robots on their iphones. There was bullying going on between teammates sitting yards apart. Nobody talked or laughed like they used to.
Now I’m seeing reports from the CDC, prestigious medical centers and doctors that social media is harmful to kids under a certain age. Although most social media sites restrict use to kids under 13 — it’s a well known fact that 10 year-olds are using social media sites.
Here’s an excerpt from an article called Protecting kids from social media’s harms by Stephanie Whiteside:
(NewsNation) – How young is too young for social media?
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is saying 13 years old is too young for social media accounts. Under U.S. law, sites that allow those under 13 to create accounts have to abide by stricter policies around data collection and privacy.
Research has shown social media can be harmful to kids and teens who are still developing their identities, damaging mental health and even impacting brain development.https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/protecting-kids-from-social-medias-harms/ar-AA16U7sg
Legislation is being considered that would ban social media use for those under 16 years old. It’s much like banning the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes to under 18 or 21.
What are your thoughts about legislation and social media? Should it be up to individual parents? Or would it help to make social media against the law for younger than 16?