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The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

Social Media Age Limit: Should It Be Increased?

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Social Media Age Limit: Should It Be Increased?

Just last month on Sunday, March 25th, Governor Ron DeSantis passed a law to increase the age limit for social media platforms to sixteen instead of its current limit of thirteen. Upon its first mention, debates stirred on whether or not this was the right decision. 

For starters, some positive outcomes would follow as a result of the law. It is true that social media can be a distraction in the classroom. Cell phones are small and easily accessible, which also means they’re easy to use (and hide!) during learning time. According to a study conducted by Common Sense Media, 97% of students use their cell phones while in the classroom. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology said student GPAs have dropped one full grade since social media was introduced. Students are hindering themselves from learning due to the incessant need to scroll through social media. If the social media ban goes into effect, fewer distractions would occur in the classroom, resulting in an increase in learning.  

In addition, children could have less exposure to unsafe ideas that may pose health risks. If unsupervised, social media is a completely uncensored and inappropriate place, and the undeveloped minds of kids may not be aware of the horrors it could bring. Increasing the age limit could help prevent naive minds from unseemly posts. 

Different trends have been going around for years, but with social media and the need for “views,” “likes,” and “followers,” these trends are increasingly becoming more dangerous. For example, the Tide Pod eating challenge of 2018 took the lives of eight teens in the United States, and over 12,000 calls were made to poison control centers nationwide because of ingesting laundry detergent. These alarming trends continue with the more recent blackout challenge in 2021, which killed 82 TikTokers trying to go viral by choking someone. Increasing the age limit can help ensure the safety of children as they wouldn’t be exposed to social media posts that encourage dastardly deeds. 

Jana Schwalb, a mother and teacher at North Broward Preparatory School, shares her opinion on the ban. “Children can’t just sit and focus on their work; they’re watching shows or ‘snapping’ with their friends,” Schwalb claims. “They know more than they should at this age because they’re able to see it all through TikTok.” 

On the other hand, various negative outcomes would result from a social media age-limit, most notably social exclusion. Many children and young teens communicate to their friends and family via social media such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. If an age restriction is implemented, their social life would also be restricted. This could also affect mental health greatly since communication is extremely important to teens. 

A teacher at Olympic Heights, Ms. Breadstill states her views on the limit: “It’s not necessary. Parents should monitor their children, and if used correctly, [social media] can enhance teens and their learning, but if not it distracts and could also affect surrounding peers.”

Another negative consequence with this law would be limiting creativity and interests. Posting on social media, while occasionally seen as inappropriate, is actually a means of self-expression. A lot of social media posts are videos of artwork, dancing, singing, and individual hobbies. This could open a network of new interests for many viewers of these videos, influencing them to get involved in new hobbies. 

Parents and teachers are always encouraging students to watch the news and learn about the world around them, but what is the difference between the television and their devices? Social media covers a lot of world news and keeps children and teens updated. Since posts can be made easily, news can travel quickly throughout the platforms. Also, users can search specific topics through hashtags to view the local and national news.

Both sides both have extremely valid points to make. Social media is a mixed topic and has its pros and cons. However, Olympic Heights student Sophia Araujo pointed out a huge turning point in the argument: “No matter if they increase the age limit, it won’t change anything. Kids are just going to lie about their age and find ways to get onto social media.”

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  • S

    Skylar CuenotApr 15, 2024 at 11:55 am

    this is a truly inspiring story

    Reply
  • E

    Ethan TainesApr 15, 2024 at 11:35 am

    This was a great article I’m personally against social media

    Reply
  • T

    Tabassum ChowdhuryApr 15, 2024 at 11:32 am

    This so informative, and its so great to see both sides of the issue since social media has always been a popular topic.

    Reply
  • A

    Auryanna floresApr 15, 2024 at 11:25 am

    Love this very interesting story.

    Reply
  • E

    Elite IsraeliApr 15, 2024 at 11:19 am

    crazy to think this could happen great article.

    Reply
  • T

    Tori ScaglioneApr 14, 2024 at 11:02 pm

    Great article, it’s a good idea.

    Reply
  • A

    AriApr 14, 2024 at 6:32 pm

    Can’t believe that it might actually happen. Crazy world

    Reply
  • A

    Ayleen GalantiniApr 12, 2024 at 11:50 am

    I think that even if the age limit changes, kids will still find ways to get online but, the age limit should stay the same which is 13+ because nowadays, we are more informed on social media about what is going on in the world than actual News stations which can help prevent many things.

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob YaciukApr 12, 2024 at 11:48 am

    Interesting article, I like it!

    Reply
  • J

    Julia Andrade XavierApr 12, 2024 at 11:47 am

    Social media has so many pros and cons, so this is definitely a difficult decision to make…

    Reply
  • A

    AvaApr 12, 2024 at 11:44 am

    Great article! Very informative.

    Reply
  • A

    Angelina MagnayeApr 12, 2024 at 11:36 am

    I agree with Ms. Breadstill, a very informative article!

    Reply
  • A

    alexaApr 12, 2024 at 11:35 am

    This is a great argument. Amazing article!

    Reply
  • S

    SantiagoApr 12, 2024 at 11:29 am

    this is a very cool article

    Reply
  • M

    madison klaperApr 12, 2024 at 11:22 am

    Love this, social media can be a real issue for little kids

    Reply
  • S

    SophiaApr 12, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Cool article, it’s a good idea.

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob UApr 12, 2024 at 11:20 am

    Great Article, I agree with Araujo.

    Reply
  • A

    ABRAHAM DAVID QUEROApr 12, 2024 at 11:20 am

    I think social media should be limited to 18+.

    Reply
  • H

    HayleyApr 12, 2024 at 11:17 am

    There should be time on and off.

    Reply