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When Is Your Brain Ready for Social Media?

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TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices.
KQED Learn: https://learn.kqed.org/discussions/37

What percentage of 11 and 12 year olds have social media?

An estimated 20% of kids between 8-12 years old, are using social media — despite rules on most platforms that require users to be at least 13 to create an account.

Why is the age limit for Social Media 13?

Congress passed a law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998 due to concerns about companies or other random people online collecting information from kids–like their name, phone number–and later photos and location–without parents’ knowledge. The law considered children a “vulnerable” group that should be protected from data mining.

How does social media negatively affect youth?


Research shows that most kids start experimenting with sharing their own data online when they’re 11 to 13, but don’t start to understand the risks and the consequences of what they do online until they are 14 to 16. If kids are active online, they have more chances of experiencing online predators, identity theft, cyberbullying, and people accessing their personal information. Another study found that kids’ brains are still developing and highly sensitive to acceptance and rejection.

How does social media positively affect youth?

Some research shows that social media can make young teens feel more confident and less lonely and depressed. They can use social media to find support for everything from organizing around a cause to dealing with mental illness.

Co-produced with Common Sense Education @CommonSenseEd


Media use and brain development during adolescence.

Digital Media, Participatory Politics, and Positive Youth

Under-age social media use ‘on the rise’

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults

Declining Loneliness Among American Teenagers

How the Parkland students got so good at social media.

Why social media is not smart for middle school kids.

Online and making thousands, at age 4: Meet the Kidfluencers.

Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences.

Developing social media literacy: how children learn to interpret risky opportunities on social network site

Teens, friendships and online groups.

Online social network size is reflected in human brain structure.

Developmental influences on the neural bases of responses to social rejection: Implications of social neuroscience for education

What kind of adults will our children become? The impact of growing up in a media-saturated world.

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