Will Gen Z allow their kids to use social media?



Alyssa Blanke – A Sophomore at CHS.

“We’re training and conditioning a whole new generation of people that when we are uncomfortable or lonely or uncertain or afraid we have a digital pacifier for ourselves that is kind of atrophying our own ability to deal with that,” – This was said by Tristan Harris, former design ethicist at Google and co-founder of Centre for Humane Technologies in his interview for The Social Dilemma; a Netflix Documentary. Social media has built itself into the structure of our world and in effect is showing some detrimental outcomes regarding the mental health and stability of our world. The future of our world is majorly dependent on one question: Will Gen Z allow their kids to use social media? Each generation has an influence on the future but Generation Z’s influence is crucial. 


This choice will ultimately impact the progression of this ‘digital pacifier’ which is consuming our world today. 


The root of the problem

Let’s start from the beginning. Creators of these social media platforms’ goal was for them to have a positive effect on society. The intentions of these apps were focused on advancing society and making a positive impact for the greater good of the world. Over time these intentions and the way people use social media changed. I interviewed some CHS students to see what their thoughts were on this topic. “I think social media was supposed to be positive, but the way people have been using it makes it negative,” said Alyssa Blanke, a sophomore at CHS. Social media was built on a positive platform with the intention of bettering the world, but those intentions have flipped for the worst. Numerous problems have sprouted from this progression. 



Mental health is being greatly impacted by social media. The national suicide rate increased by over 25% between 1999 and 2016. When looking at the data comparing suicide rate and social media usgae it is apparent that social media is a huge contributer to this epidemic. In a study done by Clinical Psychological Science we see that teenagers who spend 5 or more hours on social media per day are 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Social media is in direct correlation with this. 

Social media is also greatly impacting the information individuals are receiving. Political views and standpoints are skewed by this digital platform and in return is causing a lot of division and anger in our world. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, Google, etc. run on propaganda and fake news. Algorithms calculate exactly what a user relates to or enjoys and only shows that standpoint which influences people into one way of thinking. Data from a survey done by Pew Research Center says that 64% (about two-thirds) of Americans think that social media has an overall negative impact on the way things are going in the U.S. today. 


Will Gen Z allow their kids to use social media?

There is no simple answer. When I asked the question “Will you let your kids have social media?” Most of the teens said something like this: “I’m hoping that social media won’t be a huge trend when our generation has kids because I feel like it’s a source for a lot of problems. If that’s the case then no, I will not let my kids have social media.” said Parker Anderson. Most teens recognize the problems that social media is causing yet we continue to use it. Social media is intertwined with the world’s social structure so disconnecting from social media can feel like disconnecting from the world. The disconnect between social media and the world is the true indicator of what our future is going to look like.


The future of our world

The future of our world is uncertain but there are ways that individuals can help. An organization that is dedicated to fixing this problem is The Log Off Movement. Emma Lembke, the founder of the movement was interviewed by Julie Halpert, a reporter for the New York Times, this is what she had to say:  “We are discussing ways we can move forward with technology and allow it to become a tool again rather than a controller.” This idea of social media being a tool not a controller is super important to changing the way we use social media. This is changing social media into something that will help society as a whole, not hurt. The Log Off Movement “Promotes healthy ways to exist on social media, rather than asking people to log off entirely.” Engaging in this mindset is a great way to start supporting a positive future regarding the use of social media.