social media

Should children be allowed to use social media?

Should this question seriously be dignified with a response? There is absolutely nobody in their right mind who would justify the use of social media by children (or at least I hope not).

Should this question seriously be dignified with a response? There is absolutely nobody in their right mind who would justify the use of social media by children (or at least I hope not).

Social media disadvantage

One of the major disadvantages of growing up, a surprising disadvantage, that would have appeared inconceivable say ten years ago, is the advent of social media. The total misuse, overuse, and dependence on social media really is quite frightening.

Okay, it’s easy to be sucked into the abundance of possibility offered by sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to validate yourself, show off and create some sort of mysterious illusion.

I mean, do we ever, as young people, actually stop and think about the sheer amount of time we willingly donate to an activity that has actually been proven to reduce our self-esteem and cause feelings of isolation? Making the digital, fabricated world of social media accessible to children would dissolve so much meaning.

Online vanity

Inevitably, children will grow up into the world of smart phones and online vanity. Is this a good thing? Should we speed up this process? Or should it be our responsibility as a society to prolong this modern tragedy for as long as possible?

There’s much evidence in support of the latter. Primarily, social media creates an illusion; the illusion that we can be “anyone we want,” or at least online. The competition between females on social media sites is admittedly hard to miss. Facebook and Instagram feeds are cluttered with the sickeningly vain, self-obsessed craze that is the recently infamous “selfie.”


Most girls in these glamorous, edited, well-lit shots look ridiculous and entirely vainglorious. Do you ever think of people actually taking the photo? It does not simply magically come into existence. For a start, the time that is spent on promoting oneself is ludicrously wasteful. A truly successful “selfie,” fit to be paraded in front of just about anyone, is an achievement for most.

Girls don’t just take one photo of themselves; they take dozens, and then proceed to spend much time discarding the snaps they aren’t fully satisfied with, one by one, until they find the winner. It’s highly unlikely, don’t you reckon, that the act of taking a “selfie” is an effortless one?


Don’t even get me started on the comments, please. Of course no snap would be truly a triumph on Instagram without a cascade of overbearing comments, often from casual acquaintances, gushing over someone’s hair, or someone’s lips, or someone’s makeup, or someone’s clothes.

And when you are finally satisfied that you’ve proved you can look good, a more beautiful, popular ‘selfie’ comes to your attention, and your efforts to be the best are in vain. When are young people going to realise that they are simply not the best, most beautiful, exceptional, glittering beings to ever exist?

Fantasy or reality?

The world isn’t going to stop for us, just because we amassed 100 digital “likes.” That’s simply not the reality of life. Supposedly, social media provides us with the means to stay connected to our friends and the world.

The truth is, by spending time glued incessantly to smart phones and apps, in order to assess every detail of someone else’s life, we are taking ourselves apart, and shadowing ourselves in a dangerous ignorance as to what the real world is.

It would be a crime to introduce this way of life to children, who do not presently feel the need to live within the confines of the internet and apps. Children should not be trying to validate themselves, nor should they be wasting their lives away on social media, as an alternative to real contact with other people, honest relationships, time spent outdoors. 


Shouldn’t childhood be about real laughing, crying, smiling, rather than expressing emotions through keypad or touch screen emojis? In the end, each and every single one of us will regret the hours we spent watching others, judging others, begrudging others, living to impress people, commenting, liking and sharing, as a replacement to face-to-face conversation, eye contact, genuine laughter, living life for ourselves, not for others.

Yes, social media is useful: for organising, for keeping in touch with friends, for messaging and advertising. However, to degrade our existence to mere internet profiles, to have a life accessible through a username and password, is a grave misunderstanding of what it means to be human.

Childhood should retain its immortal and incorruptible innocence, its pleasure and simplicity, rather than be transformed into something that will bring with it no tangible memories or joy. Children should not feel pressurised to look good, to gain friend after friend, or to turn into unsociable, hollow teens before their time.

Keep social media at bay, and let children be children.

Do you think children should be allowed to use social media? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Anthony Kelly / Flickr