invention and development of mobile devices, internet and social media
platforms has highly changed the society. People are currently interacting more
virtually than they do physically, especially in social media. Digital
technology has turn to be very popular not just to the grownups but also to
children and teenagers. Most teenagers today have social media accounts where
they interact with their peer, post their updates, photos, and videos among
other things. Sometimes these teenagers are engaged in activities that could be
considered unhealthy for their age and future. Social media has been associated
with growth of a number of vices for young children which include cyber
bullying, and radicalization of teenagers among others. This has made most
parents reluctant to permit their children to use social media unsupervised.
The European commission’s General Data Protection Regulation enacted regulation
demanding parental consent prior to commercial services processing of personal
information for children below 16 years old, which was later reduced to 13
years (Magid 1). This move initiated a debate on whether parents should be
permitted to limit the use of social media by teenagers. This paper evaluates
varying positions regarding this matter.
The use of social media has increased among the world population in the recent past. Today, most people including teenagers spend a considerable amount of their time on the social media. This has been highly facilitated by growth in smartphone use among teenagers. According to atechnology use survey conducted in 2014 to 2015 by Anderson and Jiang (1), ownership of smartphone has turned to a nearly universal element of life of teens where by 95% of teens currently report having access or owning a smartphone. These mobile links are consequently fueling more-persistent activities online, such that about 45% of teenagers now claiming they are online on an almost-constant basis. The use of social media by teens has for a number of reasons been considered unsafe. According to Ramasubbu (1), peer pressure susceptibility and difficulty in or lack of self-regulation makes teens in social media vulnerable to various evils that include cyber bullying, sexting, and facebook depression, which are genuine threats. Social media also introduces other life threats that include sleep deprivation, internet addiction and social network-induced obesity. Despite the risks, social networking certainly plays a crucial role in learning technical skills and extending social links. After weighing the risks and benefits, different individuals have conflicting stands regarding allowing or disallowing teenagers to use social media with or without parental supervision.
of teens to social media has both risks and benefits. However, the risks experience
in teens’ exposure to social media can be minimized through parental control.
Parental control in this case involves knowing the teenager virtual social
connection that include the child’s friends the kind of stuffs those kids share
or discuss in the social media. This will make it possible for parents to guide
their children on how to use social media responsibly for their own benefit and
t protect innocent teens from encountering challenges that may come along with
unmonitored exposure to social media. Parental monitoring ensures that teens
are not involved in risky behaviors that can influence their future negatively.
It also guide teens in understanding why some information should not be shared
in a public platform, especially in the internet where such information can
easily be duplicated such that it is hard to completely eliminated it in the
social platform after posting it. Thisensures that they are
able to use the social media responsibly even in the future.
not everyone thinks that teens use of social media should be limited. According
toDrexler (1) limiting teens use of social media either through direct snooping
to their social accounts or though indirect snooping by viewing their pages as
close friends do infringes their right to privacy. Teens are entitled to
privacy especially in social media where one can say things that are not even
true to fit in. Parental interference may discourage teens from interacting
freely with their teens and thus, making them missing out on important personal
growth matters or in skills earned by use of modern technology.
Drexler(1) views enacting supervision law creates a great possibility for some
young people whose parents are illiterate, lack technology knowledge or have
limited access to this technology to miss out on important technological aspect
in their growth, as most of them will not find importance of consenting to such
technologies. Moreover, some parents may shy away from filling in the consent
in fear of being exposed to government agencies especially the immigration.
Consequently there will be a high level of imbalance among youths on the
development of technical skills acquired in social media use. Thus, parental
involvement in the use of social media may limit the technology use of these teens
creating imbalance in teens’ technological development.
and Guardian Readers (1) refute the idea of parental limit in teens use of
social media claiming that teens freedom in use of social media teaches kids an
essential lesson on how to conduct themselves in a virtual environment. It
teaches them on the meaning of public, what to share in public and what to
remain in private through experience. It also teaches that some mistakes done
over the internet cannot be erased. This cannot be learnt by being strictly
supervised but by letting them exposed, to be able to learn. This gives them
the knowledge they require to be able to behave responsibly over the social
media in the future. In Gould and Guardian Readers views, parents can protect
their children from the social media vices without surveillance to their act in
the social media. According to him, most of the vices in social media are not
caused by technology, but by individual behaviors. Thus, it is enough for
parents to speak to their children, caution them on the vices and give them the
freedom they need. In Gould and Guardian Readers, parental guidance and trust
will be enough to caution a teen on what to do and not to do in social media.
main strength of refuting argument is that the individual involvement in social
media is basically defined by individual behavior. This implies that a child
who is well behaved will find it inappropriate to have some kind of discussion
in social media or sharing some pornographic materials in the social media.
This implies that the situation is not defined by the system, but by
individuals. Refuters consider limitations of teens on social media by parents
as an interference of right. This is a weak argument since no parent would
offer privacy right to jeopardize their children’s safety. Children have right
to be safe and to be protected from social vices that can destroy their future.
of teens to social media can be beneficial to them and risky at the same time.
After weighing the goodness and vices of this act, the regulation body found it
necessary to demand parental supervision for younger teens. This is a great
move in protecting negative social media influence to young kids. However, the critics’
terms this as interference of children’s right and as a way of limiting the
development of their inner control. They also think that this can create
inequality in the development of technological skills among teens, especially
for those whose parents have other personal reasons to limit their use of
technology. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that social media is a new
technology that is likely to influence teens life both negatively and
positively. Parents thus have a role to safeguard their children from social
media vices and promote its positive outcome.
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