The Truth About Underage Facebook, Snapchat And TikTok Users
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The Truth About Underage Facebook, Snapchat And TikTok Users

To me, Mallory was your typical, everyday all-American little girl. Mallory Grossman was compassionate and quiet. She liked playing outdoors, making crafts and doing gymnastics. But by the time she was in sixth grade, she was getting viciously bullied both in person and over Instagram and Snapchat. Now I told Mallory she was allowed to have social media. And so I allowed her to have an Instagram account. Once the kids moved on to Snapchat, that’s when I put my foot down and said, “You’re not allowed to have Snapchat. You can’t monitor it.” Mallory’s mom Dianne knew the dangers of these platforms and fought to protect Mallory from the worst of it. But her daughter’s bullies were merciless. And in June 2017, Mallory committed suicide. She was 12 years old. By the time we found out about the online behavior, it was the day before she died. It was too late. The adolescent suicide rate is on the rise. 17 percent of kids say they have been cyberbullied, most commonly on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. Many parents and psychologists alike are pointing to the prevalence of smartphones and social media as a potential cause. Psychologist Jean Twenge says the year 2012 was a turning point. Turns out 2012 is the year when the percentage of Americans who owned a smartphone crossed 50 percent. That’s when the smartphone gained market saturation. Around that same time, that’s also when the majority of teens and the sizable majority ended up using social media. At the same time, national data sets revealed a major uptick in teen depression. More and more teens started to say that they felt left out and that they felt lonely. More started to say that they felt like they couldn’t do anything right or that they didn’t enjoy life. Among 10 to 14 year old girls, the number who are admitted to the emergency room for self harm like cutting has tripled in just a six year period. Twenge admits that there’s no way to prove decisively which way the correlation runs. After all, loneliness and depression could cause young people to spend more time on their phones. But Twenge certainly isn’t alone in thinking smartphones bear some of the blame. We see now that the number one psychiatric disorder among teens and young adults is anxiety. And it’s being caused really I think by the sort of obsessive nature of how we’re using the devices. And today, kids have access to this world earlier than ever before. Well I got my first phone when I was in sixth grade. My first smartphone in sixth grade. I was in fifth grade. Eleven years old. I was really excited actually because all my friends had a phone and I didn’t, and I kind of felt lonely. Today, the average age for a kid to get their first smartphone is 10.3. And on average, kids open their first social media account at 11.4 By age 12, 50 percent of kids have some kind of social media presence. But technically, no one under the age of 13 should even be on these platforms. Popular sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok supposedly don’t allow kids under 13 to sign up. It comes from a law that passed in 1998 called COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits websites from collecting personal information from minors under age 13 without verifiable parental consent. Now obviously, many kids violate that and start going on those platforms at younger ages, and the tech industry overall has been quite pathetic when it comes to enforcing the age restrictions that COPPA has enshrined into law. Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok require users to enter their birth dates before signing up. Instagram does not. None have mechanisms in place to ensure that kids aren’t lying about their age, and there’s no clear way to report underage users from within the apps themselves. To report kids under 13 on Instagram and Facebook, you need to fill out a form. For Snapchat and TikTok, you need to email their support teams. Ultimately, the companies have little incentive to curb underage use. Kicking preteens off their platforms could reduce advertising revenue and make it more difficult to hook kids early. Now by the time they’re 13, many teens are already used to logging in every day. I think they probably do want as much data as they can, but within the boundaries that they can get away with. I mean it is a little cynical to say, but obviously they’re going to make more money the more data they have from all of us. So we cannot really count to this day on the industry to regulate itself. So long as tech companies can claim ignorance of underage users, they can’t get in trouble. We know that the users are there and they are underage, but technically no, the platforms are not breaking the law. The child is the one breaking the law interestingly enough , not the platform. In a statement to CNBC, Instagram said, “When it comes to safety on Instagram, we’re always looking to do more, both to make sure those on Instagram are protected from bullying and also to make sure everyone on our platform is over 13. But the reality is, there’s just currently no way to quickly and reliably verify a user’s real age online.” I have never seen a good solution to enforce a specific age to join a social media site. I can’t imagine how you would do it. Well it does pose a technical challenge, social media companies do use a mix of algorithms and human power to identify and delete inappropriate content or verify the accounts of public figures. So some question why they aren’t applying these same technologies to age verification processes. It really is the central question of does Facebook owe a duty to verify that these kids are 12 or under? Do they owe a duty to say, yes when they’re writing that they’re, you know, 15 years old that they’re actually 15 years old. And that’s not really built into the law. I think this is really a parental responsibility. This is where you draw the thin line between the parent and the tech company and say, nope this one belongs to parents. So how do parents even know when a child is ready? Rosen says the age limit of 13 is totally arbitrary. It’s even different around the world. In Europe , according to the new General Data Protection Regulation, kids under 16 need parental consent to join social media platforms, though enforcement there is equally weak. People ask us all the time what age they should give their kids a cellphone, and the truth is the parent has to make the final decision. But for me personally, I always say delay, delay, delay. Common Sense Media recommends an age limit of 15 for Instagram and Facebook and 16 for Snapchat and TikTok, due to issues like language, sexually suggestive content or aggressive marketing tactics. But healthy use at an appropriate age can give kids a platform for self-expression and make them feel more connected. Research shows that teens with no social media are actually a little bit unhappier than those who use it in moderation. And if you take their word for it, 45 percent of teens say social media has no effect on their happiness, while 31 percent believe it has a mostly positive effect. It’s when smartphone use cuts into time spent interacting with friends in person, sleeping or studying that trouble is brewing. The Pew Research Center reports that 45 percent of teens say they’re online almost constantly, so by the time these teens are adults they’re hooked. 88 percent of 18 to 29 year olds have at least one social media account. For parents who want to curb this pattern, there are numerous third party apps they can use such as FamilyTime, Norton Family Premier and Net Nanny. With these, parents can monitor and restrict their child’s smartphone use as well as block certain apps or websites. You know, I tell my parents if your kid has a bachelor’s in Snapchat, you better have a master’s or they don’t need to be using it. But beyond what parents can do on their own, Dianne thinks the social media companies should use their influence to invest in educational initiatives around responsible online behavior. They know that children are misusing their app, and yet they’re worth billions of dollars. What I’d like for them to do is take those billions of dollars and invest it back in to mental health, digital responsibility, like do your part. Some major tech companies are taking steps. With the iOS 12 update, Apple rolled out Screen Time, a feature that lets users know how much time they’re spending on their phone and even allows parents to set limits on their children’s devices from their own phones. For their part, Instagram says they’re using machine learning technology to proactively detect bullying in photos and captions. And last year, they rolled out an offensive comments filter, which automatically hides comments containing attacks or threats. If the big rise in digital media use and social media is at the root of a sudden increase in teen depression, that means we can do something about it. Social media was not designed to replace the human connection. It was designed to improve the human connection, and we as a society have allowed it to replace it. We need to find a way to put the human back in our human connections.

100 thoughts on “The Truth About Underage Facebook, Snapchat And TikTok Users

  1. I simply love this channel. At least you people do reporting. In India reporting is vanishing.

    Good work guys. Keep it up.
    Your society is evolved. Your reporting makes a difference. If you will do this job. It will definitely have an impact, howsoever miniscule.

  2. There is an easy way to deal with this. The companies that own the social websites know exactly who these individuals are. You are not truly invisible on the internet. In the case that a person commits suicide due to online bullying. It should be required by law that does social media platform releases the personal information of every commenter that has left a comment that is deemed bullying or threatening. It is so easy. Locking people off social media does nothing but Breathe new sites. This idea of freedom of speech that's not absolve one of consequences. Getting a knock at the door by the police because you under a surname threaten somebody will change Behavior. These social media platforms already have access to all your media device is my linking everything. You might as well use it to save lives

  3. I think we need to focus on the implementation of “safe” social media usage —specifically blocking features, screen shots and reporting threats, and avoiding comment sections.

  4. Some of these parents are just trying to make it the platforms job to monitor what their kid does on the internet, it's the parents job. Under 13 year olds can easily cope with strong language, just go into any online video game with a chat, nudity or sexual content is already strongly censored on most platforms, and by itself doesn't harm the child. The only problematic thing is the aggressive marketing tactics, which is not a problem if you make your child aware of that, or just make an ad blocker, considering all ads have to be marked as ads.

  5. In my own opinion, the minimum age for creating a Social Media account of any kind should be 18, with 5 proofs of valid identification required, as well as 3 parental signatures and 3 witness signatures.

  6. Social Media is literally about to bring a President down. Kids are no match for it. You can't undo anything you do on the web. It lives in perpetuity in the " cloud ".

  7. Everyone blames the smartphones and the companies, maybe just maybe the parents are the ones who don’t understand. It’s not a companies fault if they’re platform is being used it’s not their fault, the parents don’t understand.

  8. Android Phone s ask for your age but it's very easy to liar about your age That's why the phone should ask for your mom's number and then send a message saying How old is your child then the perent should put in the age and the app should only take them in if they are 18+

  9. I know that this video is not a subject of humour but 7:08,is there actually a research center named Pew Research Center ?😂😂

  10. Really They have Machine learning , AI Alogritim to find
    What we Like?
    Whom we will vote?
    What we will buy next week?
    What is good present for US?
    can they predict age based
    (a) Like
    (b) chat detais
    (c) Likes on Images and comment
    Common Simple linear and classification Algo can find in which category a person fall, and silently disable the adult feature.

  11. It’s the parents not the makers of the app. It’s your job as a parent to monitor your kids not everyone else’s.
    If you can’t do that then you should’ve thought about it before you had kids.

  12. Test your kids whether they knew how toxic internet and human being in general can be. Give them understanding. They won't survive long if they're still naive about internet.

  13. The internet is extremely toxic and in my opinion no one under 18 should be allowed on it. It's full of the worst of humanity in our society.

  14. The human connection is the human hand, eyes, ears and mind. Platforms are not dangerous; human behavior is totally to blame. Do kids drive cars underage?

  15. Social media isn't a problem. The parents not doing their jerbs seems more like the issue. The TV used to raise kids. Now the parents get them phones when they're 8 hahaha. Idiots.

  16. Hmm, one option is requiring a nationwide id-system for every citizen, and requiring users to register with that id. If you trust your government that is… cough china, cough

  17. Sorry lady, but this is parents responsibility. You're blaming the platform? Take the phone away. Deal with the whining and say NO.

  18. I dislike how you compared tik tok to Facebook and insta. I mean, it is probably popular I don’t know but it’s also like a furry haven and home to extreme bullying so…. I don’t know I think this is just me hating on tik tok

  19. Social Media is nothing more than a communication tool. Why does its use result in harm to some people? Are we willing to order our society, our use of social media, in a way that reduces or limits the harm to, what we may refer to as, ‘weak’ people? This means ‘strong’ people would have to limit their activities online. Things that do not affect one person do affect another. But a fundamental dogma of our secular culture is being true to ourselves. A strong person cannot be true to themselves while limiting themselves, denying themselves, for the good of others. So we have a society that is always at odds with itself and these ineffective half-measures, like age restriction and censorship, will be used as a veil to hide what social media has revealed about human nature.

  20. If I were their parent, I would love them enough to not allow social media before high school. I wouldn’t get a middle schooler a smart phone either, or make them pay for it themselves (and children can’t work until they’re 14 w/ special permission.)

  21. I kid you not, my friends and I would celebrate each others 13th birthday by making their first facebook account 😂 we were such nerds.

  22. 13 is obviously way too young for social media, consider 14 is the standard age for depression/suicidal feelings to develop…

  23. I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat it and be happy.

  24. This is a non-issue. Kids will always find ways to circumvent and putting the blame on social media companies is like chasing the tail of a cheetah. If you really care about your children being exposed to bad stuff on social media, go live like the Amish. They seem to be doing okay.

  25. It’s not the app developers jobs. The parents need to take action and need to teach their children to also ignore people’s hate speech.

  26. It is not on the tech industry to force she restrictions on social media it is on the parents. No a parent can’t protect their children from everything forever but in my humble opinion parents aren’t even trying. Parents aren’t taking the time to understand and monitor their children on social media. I am only 21 years old and my mother STILL doesn’t know how to connect to the internet if it doesn’t do it automatically or any basic trouble shooting. So imagine how much supervision I had growing up on the Internet. I didn’t at all and I got bullied and there was nothing I could do and there way nothing my mom could do in terms of the school because when we went to meeting with the school about it my mom did not know enough about the platform to fight back. I got excuses like “well it didn’t happen on school time so it isn’t our problem” or “we can’t possibly control what happens on the internet “. Parents needs to step up and educate themselves to better protect their kids. I’m not saying it’s the parents fault for what happens to their kids but when I hear statements like “we didn’t know about the bullying until the day before she killed herself” it makes me sad. You wouldn’t leave your kid in a room alone with a bunch of dangerous weapons so don’t leave them alone on the Internet either

  27. There is no for sure way to confirm someone’s age when signing up for anything, and blaming a platform for not being able to do it is absurd. It should be the parents responsibility to monitor there own child and not the platforms

  28. I mean, or you could just try a different parenting technique. After a certain point, i don't think we can blame the company if someone does something bad.

  29. also this video is one of the most out of touch pieces of media that i've ever seen on my entire life. you'd think if they're doing a video about kids they'd interview some people under 21 and not just… old people who don't understand how the world works anymore. i know that's a bold claim but i rest my case.

  30. On 28 February 2019, Bytedance, the parent company behind TikTok, was fined US$5.7 million for violating COPPA.

    TikTok, the app Bytedance owns, now has added safety features to protect minors. For example, minors who create an account cannot do anything except like videos, follow accounts, or save videos they make to their phone. They cannot comment on videos, create a profile, or post public videos.

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