Creating Stronger Futures: The Argument Against Social Media for Kids

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By Martin Bouza

June 5, 2024

Like most parents, I absolutely adore my kids. I watch them in awe, cheer them on, and would never intentionally harm them. And while many parents feel the same way, a lot of us might be a bit too lax when it comes to one of the big dangers for kids and teens today: social media.

Humankind is pretty amazing—we create the things that change the world and sometimes even reject them. Social media is definitely one of those game-changers. It’s been around for about 15 years now, and at first, only a few people were skeptical. But today, with all the evidence we have, more and more people are pushing to ban social media for kids under 16. I especially like the way Scott Galloway frames it: we’re offering a generation of kids to Big Tech, and the government represented by the Congress stands by and watches, makes speeches, but doesn’t act on this very pressing issue.

Let’s see why: social media has done a great job of promoting itself, and there are a lot of lobbyists and interests tied up in it. In our tech-driven world, even governments have given a lot of power to big tech. To be fair, social media has some good points—it can connect us, build communities, and do all sorts of cool things. But there’s a growing movement of people who are holding onto our humanity, questioning if we should accept the impact of social media on our young ones. Kids are trying to figure out so much, and social media can really mess with that process. Adults, on the other hand, have the ability to discern—at least, that’s the idea. But asking kids and teens to make these decisions without the right tools and with tons of peer pressure? That’s a tough spot.

I’m really glad to see countries, including the US, having serious talks about limiting social media for kids and teens. It makes me wonder why some other countries haven’t jumped on board yet. We know the effects of screens on toddlers and young children, and there are tons of studies showing how social media affects older kids and teens. It’s linked to issues with reasoning, critical thinking, focus, concentration, and even self-image. This worries me because if kids don’t build these skills now, we’ll have adults who struggle with focus, can’t handle frustration, are impatient because social media makes everything seem instant, and are insecure because they rely on likes for validation. And as this continues, their kids will be the same way, and so on.

What worries me the most is that they might lose the drive, the intention, to be better. The will to be smarter, to learn more, to change the world. No one becomes the best without wanting to be the best, and I fear we’re nearing the end of that mindset.

Let’s do right by our kids today to help them bloom tomorrow. I invite you to stop their social media use now to help them build focus, resilience, and the drive to become everything they can be. Because after all, I have to ask… we care for our kids, but do we love children?