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“I don’t agree with that, because I feel that even if you are 16, there’s still problems that can happen. You can still have problems at any age, so I feel like as long as you’re mature enough and you can handle it then you can [use the internet at that age.]” — Sierra Baldwin, senior

European Union aiming for unusual law regarding youth in social media

It could be safe to say that social media is a major part of the everyday lives on several teens. A study performed by the Pew Research Center reported 92 percent of teens go online daily, thus having access to apps such as Twitter and Instagram. These teens can spend hours upon into social media. In fact, a report conducted by the Common Sense Media discovered the average teen spends about nine hours in overall media usage per day, including social media itself.

However, just imagine what these youngsters would do if they were restricted from social media until they were almost adults.

It’s a nightmare, right? But it might soon transition into reality for youth living in Europe. The European Union is pushing for a law which will allow countries in the Union to set their own media restriction laws, ranging from the regular age of 13 to as high as age 16. This could result in millions of children lost from the vast universe of social media.

Such limits could potentially stir controversy in the near future; some argue that using social media at a young age promotes early connections and provides access to news updates, encouraging world and community knowledge. On the other side of the issue, one could completely negate such benefits and could say social media is a place for common cyberbullying and infiltrates the time of our youth in which they could be educating themselves.

BearingNews asked four students what their perspective is on the European Union’s recent decision. What is your stance on their ruling? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

What is your stance on the European Union’s recent decision regarding social media in youth?

Madison Hopper, freshman “I don’t think it should happen because I think you should stick to the rules that each social media site creates itself. Instagram is age 13, and Facebook is age 13, so I think it needs to say that. I also think students and kids should have their parents’ permission so even if they are 13, they should have permission from their parents before they make their account.”
Madison Hopper, freshman
“I don’t think it should happen because I think you should stick to the rules that each social media site creates itself. Instagram is age 13, and Facebook is age 13, so I think it needs to say that. I also think students and kids should have their parents’ permission so even if they are 13, they should have permission from their parents before they make their account.”

Aidan Bachrach, Sophomore “I mean, I think it’s partially right because they can help keep the kids safe. The parents can make sure they’re not doing inappropriate stuff online or getting themselves in trouble with strangers, but it also kind of prevents the kids from having social interaction if their parents are really strict, so I think that can also break off of that.”
Aidan Bachrach, sophomore
“I mean, I think it’s partially right because they can help keep the kids safe. The parents can make sure they’re not doing inappropriate stuff online or getting themselves in trouble with strangers, but it also kind of prevents the kids from having social interaction if their parents are really strict, so I think that can also break off of that.”

Adam Decker, junior “I mean, restricting someone [from social media] until the age of 16 isn’t exactly a bad thing if it’s guidelines. Social media has been linked to numerous cyber bullying occurrences, and that might be a good reason to limit it, to stop cyberbullying and all of the things that proceed it. But you can’t exactly go around limiting everything if it’s for that kind of reason, you can’t go around limiting other people and what they can say, because of freedom of speech and all that, but it is other countries. It is a good way to stop the online attackers because kids develop that at a young age, but it’s also good parenting against that stuff, so really it shouldn’t be up to the country and there shouldn’t be an age limit. It should be up to the parents, because that’s what it is at the end, good parenting.”
Adam Decker, junior
“I mean, restricting someone [from social media] until the age of 16 isn’t exactly a bad thing if it’s guidelines. Social media has been linked to numerous cyber bullying occurrences, and that might be a good reason to limit it, to stop cyberbullying and all of the things that proceed it. But you can’t exactly go around limiting everything if it’s for that kind of reason, you can’t go around limiting other people and what they can say, because of freedom of speech and all that, but it is other countries. It is a good way to stop the online attackers because kids develop that at a young age, but it’s also good parenting against that stuff, so really it shouldn’t be up to the country and there shouldn’t be an age limit. It should be up to the parents, because that’s what it is at the end, good parenting.”

Sierra Baldwin, senior “I don’t agree with that, because I feel that even if you are 16, there’s still problems that can happen. You can still have problems at any age, so I feel like as long as you’re mature enough and you can handle it then you can have it.”
Sierra Baldwin, senior
“I don’t agree with that, because I feel that even if you are 16, there’s still problems that can happen. You can still have problems at any age, so I feel like as long as you’re mature enough and you can handle it then you can have it.”

photos by Faaris Khan

What are your opinions on setting age restrictions for social media? Leave a comment below!

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