Should Kids Have Social Media Apps?


Courtesy of Interesting Engineering

Social media can be dangerous for kids, especially when unsupervised.

Suhani Bhanvadia, Section Editor

Throughout the pandemic, many people have learned to use social media to maintain or build new relationships. However, for kids, it is a bit more difficult when they have to entertain themselves without seeing other kids in person or being allowed to have social media accounts. But this raises the question: should kids have social media?

The first issue encountered when kids want to have a social media account is their birthday. Due to the 2000 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), social media apps are required to have a minimum age of 13 to have an account. However, it is not difficult for kids under 13 to lie about their age. Do we really want kids to be lying about their information from a young age?

Not only would kids have to lie about their age to have a social media account, but there is nothing stopping them from sharing other personal information with strangers. While parents may be able to monitor their child’s activity, they may not know about these accounts, to begin with, and even if they do, spying on their kid’s activities can damage the trust in their relationship.

So let’s say their parents don’t care about their kid’s social media account and the kid isn’t giving their information out. Another problem will arise when kids encounter cyber-bullying. If kids are already being secretive about their accounts, they are more than likely not going to ask for help when they are being bullied. This can further impact the child’s mental development leading to other problems in their future.

Okay, so if the kid’s parents monitor their social media, use their own email instead of their child’s, do so without building mistrust with their child, and the kid does not encounter bullying, is there still a problem? Absolutely.

When a kid has a social media account, their friends will want one too. So it isn’t surprising that so many kids are lying about their age to get an account.”

— Aaric Duong (11)

Aaric Duong (11) shares that “when a kid has a social media account, their friends will want one too. So it isn’t surprising that so many kids are lying about their age to get an account.” Also, I think we can all agree that social media is addictive, even for adults. This is amplified when kids use it. Spending more time on their electronics gives them less time to go outside and grow on their own. Before social media and technology, kids would grow up exploring nature and having their own experiences. Now, they almost never encounter nature and are watching other people’s experiences.

Kids will also have a distorted view of reality. Since they are watching a highlight reel of other people’s lives on social media, they will expect their lives to be the exact same. Not only does watching other people’s lives give them a false sense of reality but they are not being given enough time to grow. Most of the other people on social media will be older than them; they will be pushed to think as adults earlier and won’t get to enjoy being a kid.

Children should not have social media before the age of 13. However, it will be difficult to ensure that kids aren’t lying or have their parent’s permission.