In Manhattan, a high school freshman said he was trying to reduce the amount of time he scrolled through TikTok, but questioned whether age restrictions on social media use would be effective in deterring tech-savvy teens.
Another senior from Queens said social media was essential to socializing, but lamented that social media had changed from a pleasurable activity to an obligation.
Outside a high school in Brooklyn, a sophomore said he despises the addictive nature of social media and how it “manipulates our reward centers.” Still, he thinks legal restrictions are inappropriate.
Teen’s reaction comes hours after U.S. Surgeon General’s response Social media warning Tuesday May pose a “serious risk” to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
The warning added new life to a national conversation about the impact of social media use on children and teens and how policymakers, tech companies and families should intervene to limit it.The Biden administration said on Tuesday A workgroup will be created Study consequences and make recommendations.
But in the nation’s largest school system, interviews with more than a dozen Teenagers have nuanced perspectives on social media and the complicated ways they deal with its ubiquity. (Some students’ last names are withheld due to their age.)
“I’m pretty disgusted with it, actually,” said Jack Brown, 15, a sophomore at Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene. “I could complain all day about why I don’t like social media and why I think it’s a big cancer of our generation.”
However, he added: “I just don’t think the government should have that kind of regulation over our own social lives.”
The Surgeon General’s report comes at a time when social media companies are under intense public pressure to rein in how teenagers – especially young children – use their platforms. Nearly 40% of children ages 8 to 12 use social media, some studies showeven though most platforms require an older minimum age.
In recent years, more and more states have entered the fray, Through legislation Parental consent is required for the use of social media.exist washington and california, Some school districts even sued the head platform, saying that its content hurt young people.when teachers with a Teen Mental Health Crisis Affected by the epidemic, some experts believe that question whether Social media adds to the challenge.
But on Tuesday, many teens said it was almost impossible to get social media out of their lives.
“Social media is just something our generation has to have,” said Adelina Zaripova, 15, a sophomore at Brooklyn Tech from Staten Island.
She added that she found the intense political focus on young people’s use of social media “a little bit interesting”.
“For example, I know my grandma sits in front of her phone all day watching funny cat videos on TikTok,” Adelina said.
Many also wondered whether adults grasped the potential benefits.
For example, a high school freshman in Bushwick, Brooklyn, said his passion for cars was born by scrolling through Instagram. Another junior said social media helped teach her how to apply to college.
Two middle school students said TikTok helped them broaden their horizons, learn about other people’s lives and improve their Spanish. Still, they admit their experiences have not always been positive.
Daurelis, a student at Philippa Schuyler Middle School, said she was regularly stalked by “weirds” online after posting makeup tutorials on TikTok. Recently, she said, her self-esteem was hurt after battling cyberbullying.
“Someone called me,” said 13-year-old Dorelles. “They said a lot of hurtful things.”
“There is always discrimination and racism on social media,” echoed her classmate Charlize, 13.
The Surgeon General on Tuesday implored policymakers and tech companies to “act urgently” to guard against these online risks. Some teens said the message echoed what they had been calling for.
For example, 15-year-old Sadathi Hettiarachchige recently wrote an opinion column in her school newspaper arguing for stricter age restrictions on Instagram. Sadathi, a freshman at Brooklyn Tech, said she and her friends recently found themselves “staring in the mirror” — taking a hard look at their appearance.
“I realized it,” she said. “I thought, ‘Stop!'”
as some states like Utah and Arkansas Despite the tightened restrictions on social media, some experts and teens have questioned whether the new law will have the desired effect.
Bradford Suthammanont, 15, a freshman at a high school in midtown Manhattan, added that tech companies “have no incentive” to make meaningful change.
Several young New Yorkers said the best way forward was to have families help their children use social media, though they acknowledged the limitations of that option.
Emmanuel, 13, a student at Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Middle School, said his time online initially worried his immigrant parents, who knew little about the popular platform.
“I actually helped them monitor my social media so they could trust me,” Emanuel said.