The Danger of Children and Social Media

Social Media is a universal poison.

Social Media is a universal poison.

Victoria Sosadias, Writer

Three months ago, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg confirmed plans that an “Instagram for kids” was in the works.

 Stating that only children under the age of 13, which is the cutoff for Instagram normally, would be allowed on the platform. Furthermore, he stated that no ads would be present on the app at all.

Although the next generation is growing up before our very eyes, we shouldn’t rush, as a society, to speed up the process. Children deserve a childhood that is safe, sound, and full of love. Free of stress, if you would.

Social media by absolutely no means would help with that. Introducing children to a platform that they could express themselves on would, in theory, be a liberating thing to them. They could finally feel like part of the conversation. But, that conversation is a much bigger thing than any of us. 

“I disagree with it because I feel that children don’t have the maturity, mentally or emotionally, to handle having a large following on social media,” said sophomore Taylor Jordan.

Not only would a child-exclusive social media provide a new gateway for cyber bullying, but it would also be a way to promote child exploitation, and a new way for those convicted of sex crimes that included children to corner their victims. It’s easy to create a fake Instagram account, claim you’re 10, and lure a gullible child into a trap.

Not to mention the dozens of clinical studies done on how mental health can tie back to phone and social media usage.

“I feel that there are mostly long term effects, such as comparisons, lack of confidence, body dysmorphia, obsession over meaningless numbers, etc. I feel that the effects are all rooted in competitiveness and impact self-image overall,” said Jordan. 

There is a reason that the cutoff age for Instagram is 13. Although it can’t be guaranteed that all those signing up for Instagram are 13 or older, it also can’t be guaranteed that ‘Instagram for Kids’ would only include children.

Children are impressionable and easily manipulated. Not only did we need to worry about them on regular social media, but now, we would have to worry about them on a platform that is made for them. 

Two weeks ago, more than 40 general attorneys urged Facebook to abandon their ‘Instagram for kids’ idea. And honestly? We should join them. There are already so many dangers to our children in this world.

This would only add to that list.