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Arkansas Governor Signs Bill For Age Limit on Social Media: A Step Forwards or Backwards?


            It is an act known as the Social Media Safety Act, which has been pronounced to begin in early September. The goal of said act is to give parents an increasing amount of control over what their kids do on their phones regarding social media specifically.


If you are under 18 years old, the social media of said choice will need the parents to consent before the user can even create an account. “To perform the age checks, the law relies on third-party companies to verify users’ personal information, such as a driver’s license or photo ID” explains Brian Fung of CNN News.


So, what does this exactly mean for upcoming generations?


One of the main points is that a lot of teenagers who are beginning to feel the freedom of the world around them are getting a part of what they see as freedom taken away. Social media has come with its fair share of pros and cons, and a lot of how it can affect individuals is still being figured out by researchers. Social media is incredibly new to the world, and we are only in the first stages of seeing the short-term effects it can have on all of us.


It has been a beautiful way of connecting with humans all over the world, learning more about what is around you, and giving you space to be yourself. However, it has also come with a large disconnect from the reality we all live in. There have been studies showing that because of social media and technology, kids are losing the social skills needed to communicate face-to-face with others. There is always going to be the ebb and flow of the world, where we gain good positive things that have negative effects that follow. It is learning how to balance out the good and bad, so there is space for growth but not destroyed in a society.


Should there be an entire bill putting a limit on age for social media? It depends on who you are and what your belief system revolves around.


Some people would agree to say that social media has gotten too far out of hand, and the government now needs to use its position of power to add control to the situation. We see this with the current trial undergoing the want to ban TikTok in its entirety, and no longer have it be accessible to anyone. Others would say that how often their kids use social media should, really, only be up to the family, and how the parents or guardians feel about their child’s usage of certain apps and screen time.


There is a wide variety of opinions and beliefs on how something as new to the world as social media should be handled, and the spectrum ranges from government control to parents wants to complete freedom to how people under 18 want to manage their free time.


Government and state officials are slowly beginning to take more aggressive steps regarding social media, and the main reason is because of the excessive amount of screen time that is taking place and the large amount of freedom that is being handed to everyone. There has never been a time in our society where there has been this level of freedom to write, say, or post anything you want and anyone in the world can reach it within milliseconds. This has brought a level of fear into adults and government officials who grew up in a completely different generation and are trying to find ways to have social media not be used as excessively as it has grown to be.


This shows in every part of the world, where everywhere you go, it seems like a human is staring down at a small screen being held in the palm of their hands. It is shown in concerts when everyone is recording rather than being in the moment, and it does not help in the mental health department when all you are seeing throughout the day is everyone’s perfect moments.


With everything in life, it is so incredibly important to have balance. Without it, things are too far one way, and there is a disconnect with how said things should be.


Am I saying that the government should come in and have complete control over social media for people under 18 and that TikTok should be banned? I am not. However, I am also not agreeing with the fact that social media is a great thing with no negative aspects that we still do not know the long-term effects of.


Balance. We need it in every part of society, and that includes social media. There needs to be a balance where there is freedom of speech, but in a way that it does not consume all the worlds, that we all end up missing the reality we were born into.


Edited by: Youssef Jarray

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