Janet writes a valid piece on what is missing, solutions:
“So, are the warnings justified? Probably, yes. Teens are not just impressionable. Their brains are still pliable and forming. The content they see and hear through the internet does not take that into account. Parents can’t effectively monitor teens’ online behavior, and content producers won’t change what they put out — it’s too profitable.
Alerting parents to the dangers is all well and wonderful, but pointing out a problem with no solutions isn’t all that helpful, really.”
If you read the whole thing you’ll see that she makes some points about what the advisory says about social media and the real data that it is based on, there’s not a ton of proof that it is absolutely social media that is causing the rise in anxiety, depression and other issues for teens. I’ve talked about that before.
What she ends with, however, is something that we should all take a moment to consider. The surgeon general issued an advisory saying social media is likely having a negative effect on some teens but offered no solutions.
Sadly, this lack of realistic solutions has led to a whole bunch of unrealistic, even dangerous, solutions to be suggested and even put into potential legislation. Things like banning kids from using social media, banning perfectly legal content from being published at all, forcing social media sites, or even all sites, to start verifying the age of every visitor, etc. All of these solutions vary from just plain unconstitutional to downright harmful to society.
Imagine, for example, a world where every website you visited required an ID and stored that information about you. How else do these politicians think banning teens from using the internet in certain ways would work?
I agree with Janet. There is content available on the internet, and social media, that is dangerous for kids. There is also content available that is beneficial to kids as well. Protecting them from harm without killing off all of the positive things technology brings into their lives every day is not a simple task.
Anyone telling you it is simple, or claiming that we “have to do something”, without explaining all of the trade-offs is not to be taken seriously.
Go read the whole thing –