Social media has become an important tool for the youth to connect in the past year as the pandemic forced residents of a locked-down world to isolate themselves, effectively preventing person-to-person interaction. But it has also impacted children's mental wellbeing negatively by becoming a source of endless doom scrolling and unrealistic comparison.
Some countries require social media companies to ask permission from parents of children under 13 to collect data. The Philippines, meanwhile, is aiming to enact a law that will regulate the use of social media to protect minors against the risk of online exploitation.
Notwithstanding the requirements to create an account, it is evident that kids are able to access just about any social platform. A survey by a nonprofit organization reported that 65% of children aged 9-12 years old say they have used Instagram with 40% saying they are on the platform at least once a day.
According to the UNICEF, the average age at which Filipino children first go online is 10 years old. The good news is nearly half of Filipino children think that the internet is not safe for them.
Despite social media's harmful impact on the "physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of children," Facebook is planning to roll out a kid-friendly, ad-free version of Instagram.
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