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Children vs. social media: Gen A’s newest foe

By Ryan Boettcher, Staff Writer

Over the past couple of months, renowned artist Kanye West and socialite Kim Kardashian have been going through a public divorce centered mainly around their children. Most recently, Kanye West has been publicly adamant against his children using social media at a young age. 

North West, the 8-year-old daughter of West and Kardashian, is an active user of the social media platform TikTok. North West created numerous videos with many alumni of the hit show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” as well as posting some videos by herself. Kanye West in an Instagram post stated his frustration with TikTok and their policy concerning young children on their platform. 

Just a few hours later, TikTok made a statement saying that they would review the account. As of now, the account is still up and running. Sophomore actuarial science major Vincent Randazzo thinks Kanye is in the right. 

“I agree 100 percent with Kanye not wanting his daughter on TikTok. TikTok is an addictive platform, and does Kanye want North to be exposed to things that Kanye maybe as a father doesn’t want her to see at that age,” Randazzo said. “It is also a danger because does North know when to not show private information? It’s a safety concern with her being a public figure.”

This situation of children being unadvised on social media is not an isolated case though. According to a study from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, nearly one-third of parents of children aged 7 to 9 years old reported that their children were using social media apps. 

In addition to this study, another report from the Wellesley Centers for Women and Lynch Research Associates found that children younger than 11 years old who use Instagram and Snapchat are more likely to have problematic digital behaviors like having online-only friends and visiting sites parents would disapprove of, as well as a greater chance of taking part in online harassment.

Should there be a certain age restriction for social media, and is there an alternative social media for kids? 

A majority of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok already require the user to be at least 13 years of age due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). 

There are alternative apps made for children, but many people don’t trust them. Junior digital art and design major Anthony Hines gave his opinion on these children’s social media options, and how social media is a danger.

“I think the idea of a ‘kid social media’ is kinda dumb and pointless because people can easily just pretend that they are 12 or younger to infiltrate and do horrible things to these kids’ lives,” Hines said. “I feel like if you’re a kid on social media, you gotta make sure to be safe and know what to do and what not to say online.” 

Another cause of concern with social media includes the lack of social connection between children and their parents. According to Wiley Community Psychology, the heavy use of social media and screen time are associated with negative parent-child relationships. Junior marketing major Kyle Etts believes that parenting affects children as well. 

“Kids need to spend more time with parents instead of parents shoving coco melon in kids’ faces to distract them,” Etts said. “Children should not be allowed on social media. It’s shown to be damaging and addicting to everyone.”

With the next generation of children consuming a large amount of screen time, will their future be at risk?

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