Letter: Teen social media restrictions could backfire
If you’re the parent of a teenager, then you know that telling them not to do something isn’t always well received. Teenagers are innately curious and rebellious and often disregard our warnings and rail against the measures we adopt to protect them. Unfortunately, Rep. Chris Stewart’s bill that restricts social media access and HB 311 and SB 152 which recently passed the Utah legislature, disregard that reality.
These bills and what Rep. Stewart is proposing will only force kids underground to a kind of “black market” social media. And if the content on Twitter and Instagram scares you, imagine what’s on these dark web social media sites. Don’t underestimate today’s youth — they are smart, innovative, and way more tech-savvy than we are.
Many of the kids that would be affected by bans like this have grown up with technology and social media. They’ve learned to use it as a tool to share their passions, demonstrate athletic talent to recruiters, build a community, and in some cases, build a business. Taking these tools away from them now would be counterproductive and could diminish their opportunity for future success.
Big government bans almost always backfire, and the repercussions of a ban of this magnitude are scary to think about. I’ll take my chances with YouTube, Facebook, and the like with their content moderation systems and parental controls. And frankly, as a parent, it should be me, not the government, who decides whether my child is allowed on social media.