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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Blurring the line between our real and online lives

The dilemma over what to post and not to post has become a pressing issue with all of our interactions with the world becoming digitized.
Editorial+cartoon+by+Stephanie+Cheng
Editorial cartoon by Stephanie Cheng

Social media is becoming more widespread, as teenagers are getting social media accounts earlier and earlier. Although most platforms have age requirements, that can be easily bypassed by lying about one’s birth date. Surveys done in 2022 by the New York Times proved an upswing in social media use among children from ages 8-12, although platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat require users to be at least 13 years old.

Taking into account the recent congressional hearing with the CEOs of five major technology companies that happened on Jan. 31, and the lack of children’s online safety legislation that resulted from the multiple hearings, it is evident that neither federal legislation nor private
corporation legislation will cause any tangible change to how social media platforms operate and regulate content on these applications.

Given how expansive social media can become, there is an argument to be made that parents and caregivers need to take a more active role in monitoring their children’s social media and not allow their children to have such unrestricted access to these platforms. Social media in its
current state is unregulated and allows young, impressionable children to absorb and post content that is unsafe and causes issues. During the congressional hearing, the most discussed topics were sexual exploitation of children and the correlation between social media use and
anxiety/depression.

By giving children an opportunity to post their every thought and repost other content, they are given a level of power or responsibility that quite often, they are unprepared for. I believe that an individual’s social media is a direct reflection of one’s self, in the sense that they are actively choosing to put out the content they choose to do. However, young teens and children are unprepared for this ability and cannot comprehend the concept of digital footprint and the effect they can have on university admissions and or future careers, partially due to how rapidly content spreads on social media, a concept likely to be not understandable by young teens.

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Parents should encourage social media and digital literacy if their children plan on making social media accounts. Nonetheless, it is more important now than ever that we, as a society, are more aware of the content we put out on the internet, regardless of whether we have a private account or not; especially given we can not fully grasp the long-term effects of social media use at a young age.

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About the Contributor
Sofia Majeed, Manager
Hi, my name is Sofia Majeed, I'm in the 12th grade, and I'm the manager of The Hoofprint. Outside of the newsroom, I am one of the Mock Trial captains & involved in Model United Nations. I love watching the sunset & eating Thai food.
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