The Extinction of the Tween Phase

With kids using social media at a younger age, they are being exposed to mature content, causing them to grow up faster than children in the past and miss out on important stages in life.

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With kids using social media at a younger age, they are being exposed to mature content, causing them to grow up faster than children in the past and miss out on important stages in life.

Katelyn Ruggles, Editor

The tween phase. That awkward period during middle school where you are not a kid anymore but have not quite reached the stage of a teenager. Some people consider it the worst part of growing up. But hey, don’t worry, everyone goes through it! Well, everyone used to go through it… 

Arguably everyone needs to go through their tween phase. That transition between middle school and high school is vital to self discovery. It is where people go through a personality change, develop their sense of style, find their hobbies and passions, and meet the people they will be lifelong friends with. You learn about yourself and the world around you. There is no perfect transition to becoming a teenager. 

However, exposure to social media has allowed kids to grow up faster, skipping their “tween phase”. But by doing this, they are missing out on an important time in their lives where they find their true selves and mature into the person they will become in life. 

There is no doubt that kids are growing up faster than in the past. You see kids wearing more mature clothing, owning phones at younger ages, and doing things you typically see high schoolers doing. A large portion of this is due to social media. Kids at a young age are exposed to what it looks like to be the “ideal” teenager or even adult and want to replicate that at their own age. 

By copying what social media thinks teenagers should look like, kids are losing their personality, creativity, and uniqueness. If you want you could tie this to the mass spreading of trends, which is also thanks to social media. Kids just follow the trends to seem up to date on the latest fashion instead of keeping their unique style. Of course, trends have always been a thing without the development of social media, but people take trends to an extent these days, forming their whole personalities around them. 

To sum it up, Camille Khong (11) says it best,

Acting your age is not a bad thing. Everyone should go through life in stages and skipping certain steps does not allow full development.”

— Camille Khong

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Growing up so quickly also causes kids to miss out on the moments in life where they develop as a person and lose their innocence too early in life. Part of growing up is learning about the different parts of the world from someone like a parent or adult so that it is explained in a way that a thirteen or fourteen year old can handle. But social media takes this away from parents, exposing kids to things that may be too mature for them to know. 

Some contradict this by saying that at one point kids are going to have to learn about the more mature topics of the world, and if you wait too long to educate your children it is doing them a disservice. Though this may be true to an extent, it is still important that kids are not exposed to these things too harshly, which social media might do. The best case is always for an adult to sit down with a child to explain things that they might have heard around school rather than going to social media. 

When it comes down to it, social media is not going away any time soon. It has become embedded in our society and has a positive impact in numerous ways. However, it is still important to keep a close eye on how social media may be impacting our younger generation. Everyone is different and should embrace their uniqueness instead of following social media to fit the “ideal person”.