The teen suicide rate is on the rise, and some researchers are linking this to the prevalence of smartphones and social media use. Preteens are getting hooked on Facebook’s platforms, Snapchat and TikTok even though, legally, they are not allowed to create accounts before age 13.
Rates of adolescent depression and suicide are on the rise, and many parents and psychologists alike are linking this trend to the prevalence of smartphones and social media.
According to a report by Influence Central, the average kid gets their first smartphone at age 10.3, and opens their first social media account by age 11.4. By the time they’re 12, 50% of kids use at least one social media platform. To sign up, many lie about their age. That’s because popular sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Tiktok all set their age limit at 13, in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
But so long as these companies make their age limit clear in their terms of service, and don’t advertise to children, they’re likely not in any legal trouble.
This leaves parents wondering – what should the age limit actually be? And whose duty should it be to enforce it?