Social Media Needs to Be Censored for Young Children

Thomas Daniels, Editor in Chief

When people need a time killer, the easiest thing to do is to fiddle around with your phone. It’s a simple pick-up that becomes a force of habit after a while. Whether it be games, emails, or social media it’s easy to get sucked in. The most popular among these, social media, has around 72 percent of the total U.S. population using their apps (69 percent of adults and 81 percent of teens, according to Pew Research Center). 

As the population of the digital age grows, so too does the number of kids on said platform. Youtube already has an app for kids, appropriately named Youtube kids, and Instagram made plans for their own kids’ version of their app, which eventually got put on hold. And it should remain that way. Younger kids are negatively affected by social media apps and should not be on apps that enable unhealthy practices.

Illustration by Vy Nguyen.

The harmful effects of social media are the priority and the most consequential. The feeling of anxiousness and depression is most commonly linked with heavy social media usage, according to McLean hospital. From 2009 to 2017, suicides have gone up 25 percent among teens, and it’s particularly bad for young girls who had a higher risk of suicide than boys, according to Medical News Today.

 Feelings of isolation and low self-esteem also have been reported, according to Medical News Today. Furthermore, “the earlier teens start using social media, the greater impact the platforms have on mental health,” said the McLean Hospital. 

These effects are even more substantial considering that these apps, Facebook and Instagram especially, are made to be addictive. In recent congressional testimony Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, said that Facebook willingly ignored the addictiveness and negative mental health effects that their company caused on their users in favor of profit. In a “60 min” interview Haugen said, “what Facebook is doing isn’t illegal because they hid the information that politicians would have needed to create regulations that addressed it.” It’s already terrible enough considering the effects on adults and teens, but to give kids social media would be irresponsible.  

Kids under the age of 13 should not be given access to social media because of the deteriorating mental side effects, such as depression and anxiety, early in their life. The prospect of Instagram kids is damaging for the younger generation and is rightfully put on hold. Companies such as Facebook should be held accountable for purposely hiding the destructive mental effects that they cause, and parents should also recognize what those apps could be doing to themselves and their kids.