Orginally Published in the July 2023 Issues of the Barberi Law Inside

Kids on phones/tabletsPreviously, I have written about my concerns for our children losing their ability to actually have conversations—choosing instead to text rather than telephone friends, or to “like” a Facebook post rather than making a response to the originator of the post. Today, while I still worry about the decline in people actually talking to each other, I am worrying even more about the harmful and potentially deadly byproducts of social media users, especially our children who use social media. Our children are becoming true victims of others that are misusing the various social media platforms via bullying and by being made to question their own self-worth. A recent article published in the Washington Post explained why we need a Social Media Act to be passed by Congress. I could not agree more for the need of such legislation. I have written a separate article in this month’s newsletter which does a deep dive into this issue. In the meantime, I challenge each parent and grandparent to continue to do their part to limit their child’s/grandchild’s screen time. Instead spend time with their children or a grandchild doing old-fashioned things, yet healthy things, such as reading to and with them, playing games with them, and taking the time to explain important values to them like being kind to everyone and yes, remembering that we are all God’s children and, eventually all of us will be judged by how we have conducted ourselves during our lifetime. What do you think?

 God bless, Joe


Here are a few facts to ponder:

  • 38% of children ages 8 to 12 say they currently use social media. This fact was published by a survey of Common Sense Media.

  • Teenagers 13 to 18 report spending nine hours per day in front of screens (phones, tablets, and computers).

  • Tech companies and social platform owners admit to using powerful algorithms to hook users so they will keep them using the platform more and more.

  • The rise in the use of smartphones, and in particularly social media, has coincided with a mental health crisis, especially with teen girls.

  • Rates of depression among teenagers have doubled from 2009 to 2019 according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

  • In 2021, nearly 3 out of 5 teenage girls reported being sad or hopeless while nearly 1 out of 3 reported to at least considering suicide (an increase of nearly 60% from 10 years ago!)

  • Social media facilitates and fuels self- doubt, depression, bullying and other anti- social behaviors that are already common among young people.

  • There is this separate child safety issue created by use users of social media. There are over 500,000 predators using social media every day. These “predators” often use online chat rooms to pose as other young children seeking to chat and instant message other children sharing their emotions with vulnerable children.

The above referenced alarming facts demonstrate why Congress must act. Private companies making millions of dollars off these social media users will not change their ways and address these problems on their own. The proposed Social Media Act would require the consent of a parent or guardian before allowing users under eighteen to have access to these social media platforms.

Protecting children from the harms of social media will be helped by Congress acting to adopt such legislation to prevent the worst abuses of social media. That said, parents and grandparents must also act to prevent their children and grandchildren from these abuses by strictly monitoring their children’s and grandchild’s use of their screentime and to talk to other parents about these issues.

In Mount Pleasant, in my discussions with health officials at CMU, the anxiety crisis with young women beginning classes at CMU is rampant. Our children are being taught that they can’t to make judgments on their own and in order to decide whether they are “OK” they must check in with “others” on social media to learn of what “they think” is “the correct way” to view themselves. How sad. The time to act is now to prevent further mental health issues with our young adults who we will be trusting to help decide our future.

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