Long gone are the days where parents would shout their children's names from their front porches as the summer sun set late in the evening, beckoning the bloody-kneed, weary-eyed, adventurous kids inside for supper for the first time since lunch. Now, it seems that every youngster with motor skills is clutching an iPad at the restaurant table or begging for five more minutes on top of their already-allotted hours of screen time.
Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena has been very vocal in his opposition to providing young children with unrestricted access to advanced technology and social media, and as it turns out, he's not alone. In a January 2023 airing of CNN Newsroom, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said he believes that children as old as 13 should be restricted from joining social media platforms, as — according to a report on Axios — "being on those platforms does a 'disservice' to children."
Should My Kids Be Allowed to Have Social Media?
While Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter all welcome users 13 and older to frequent their sites, TikTok — one of the world's fastest growing and most-used sites of the year — allows users under the age of 13 to create a profile.
Not only does increased screen time and social media use make children vulnerable to cyberbullying, peer pressure, and explicit content, but several studies have also drawn connections between social media and increased mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
"When we had dangerous vehicles on the road, we passed laws to make those vehicles less dangerous," Murthy said, according to the Axios report. "We should make decisions to make [social media] a healthier experience that would make kids feel better about themselves and less alone.”
De Sena, a living example of the maxim "Earned, Not Given," couldn't agree more.
"All kids need limits, or boundaries," De Sena says. "Any kid that wants screen time needs to earn it. Weekends are not a free-for-all for your kids to be attached to screens all day. It may be easier on you, but better parenting is hard parenting. If you’re taking the easy way out, you’re probably doing a disservice to your kids."
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