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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Ban TikTok, say principals: 'Social media is merciless'

In an Education Week survey, 55 percent of principals said banning TikTok would "make their jobs easier," reports Olina Banerji. TikTok "challenges" have led to bullying and vandalism, they say.

But it's not just one app, said Kristen Peterson, the assistant principal at Chesterton High School in Indiana.

Even if we curb cellphone usage in school, kids are on TikTok and other social media at home with no monitoring. Earlier, if you were fighting in school, you could go home and get a break from it. But social media is merciless.

Her high school teaches lessons on how to be a good digital citizen using modules developed by a group of teachers.

At Pine Forest Middle School in Fayetteville, N.C., students created fake TikTok pages to spread nasty rumors about classmates, said Assistant Principal Shameka Joyner. “They’d crop pictures of [other students’] heads onto different bodies, say humiliating things about them, or just make up stories."

“Social media is nearly the whole foundation for conflict between students," she said. "That’s where the fights start.”

Florida will ban social media accounts for children under 14 and require parental permission for 14- and 15-year-olds, reports Brendan Farrington for AP. The law will take effect on Jan. 1 -- if it survives legal challenges.

“A child in their brain development doesn’t have the ability to know that they’re being sucked into these addictive technologies and to see the harm and step away from it, and because of that we have to step in for them,” Speaker Paul Renner said at the bill-signing ceremony held at a Jacksonville school.

The bill, passed with some support from Democrats, bans "social media formats based on addictive features such as notification alerts and auto-play videos, rather than on their content," writes Farrington.

Pennsylvania legislators are debating bipartisan bills that would "set ground rules for social media companies," including requiring monitoring of minors' social media use, writes Stephen Caruso of Spotlight PA.

"From California to Ohio, red and blue states alike have passed laws that attempt to combat this by requiring age verification and parental consent to use apps," he writes.

In an injunction blocking an Arkansas parental consent law, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks wrote that NetChoice, a tech industry group, had raised valid First Amendment issues. The judge found no evidence that the law would “protect minors from materials or interactions that could harm them online.”

There is “no privacy-protective way” to verify a user's age, said Megan Iorio, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a March interview. However, she added, “The government should be able to pass regulations to prevent harms to kids.”


Apr 04

Am I missing something here? Is all this bullying and flash mob instigation anonymous and untraceable? It seems likely that the perpetrators are guilty of a whole pantheon of offenses, from terroristic threats to criminal conspiracy, and should be prosecuted. Or perhaps availed of some "street justice."


Apr 04

Banning social media for any age is downright stupid. It is impossible to enforce. Rather do something that can be seen openly.

Ban smart phones for under 17. Only a flip phone with a button to call mommy and a red button to call 911. That's it. That's all the under 17s should have.

Easy to enforce in school, public, and the home. These phones are already available. There are cell phones specifically designed with limited functionality, primarily intended for children or for people who need only basic phone capabilities. These phones can be programmed to only call certain numbers, like 911 or the parents' phone numbers, and to only receive calls from predefined numbers. Here are some key feature…

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