The Brown and White has created a policy on artificial intelligence for reporters and editors to follow.

Editorial: Navigating children’s well-being in the digital age


One pump of C-Firma Fresh vitamin C topical cream, one dab of Wonderwild skin-saving balm and two to three drops of A-Gloei glow-boosting 0.5% vegan retinol.

A 10-year-old girl walks up and down the aisles of her local Sephora, collecting various skin products to concoct the skin-care smoothie she saw an influencer promote on her TikTok for-you-page this morning.

Sephora and similar stores are becoming an object of obsession as younger and younger audiences convince their parents they need anti-aging moisturizer and expensive makeup routines. 

Employees and customers at Sephora are sharing stories on social media about their negative experiences with children who are misinformed about what they should be applying to their young skin. 

These children are learning what to buy from influencers on social media, which many parents allow them access to, so who can blame them if they can’t distinguish the increasingly blurry line between advertisement and entertainment?

The subliminal messages of influencers have existed for years. Still, with this generation that has grown up with social media since birth, we are now in a different era. 

As college-aged students, we grew up with Disney Channel and Nickelodeon characters as role models for our ideal high school experiences. Now, children are looking to influencers on TikTok, mirroring the trends they observe in makeup and clothing. 

While some of us hold the opinion that the extent to which a child is granted access to technology is a household-to-household issue, others feel that this is emblematic of a national trend of children being exposed to social media younger than ever before.

Parents today are more aware of the implications of screens than previous generations were, but realistically they can only control so much. With ever-changing technology and social media, it may be difficult for some parents to keep up with trends. 

According to Harvard Medical School, children lack “the fully developed self-control system to help them with stopping this kind of obsessive behavior.” If this is the case, should there be more parental restriction, or even governmental regulation of social media for kids?

Steve Jobs admitted in 2011 that he did not allow his children to use his company’s iPad, further noting he limited the amount of technology his kids used at home. Later, Bill Gates acknowledged he set time limits on his children’s screens and did not give his children cell phones until they were 14 years old.   

Technology developers who know the inner workings of their products have favored restricted access to technology for their children. This is likely due to their awareness of research surrounding the negative impacts of technology on young children.

In a nationwide trend, teachers are quitting their jobs, partially because of the frustration of children’s behavior in the classroom and lack of attention span. In the 2021-2022 year, across eight states, the turnover rate was 2% higher than pre-pandemic, which was the highest rate in the previous five years.

When a higher rate of teachers are leaving schools and separating from districts, this is not only harmful to the teachers who are jobless, but also for the children who lose this relationship with their educator. There may be less experienced replacements, which can harm the students’ academic development.

Aside from the lingering effects of technology on attention spans, the idealization of life displayed by social media personalities is problematic for young viewers. Influencers filtering out the unappealing parts of their lives and the flaws in their skin creates an unrealistic standard for young, impressionable children.

This perfectionism displayed across platforms, whether in video or picture form, can heighten insecurities, lowering self-esteem. This may be a reason why 10-year-olds are at Sephora, buying products in an attempt to make themselves look like their favorite influencers, to make themselves look like how they are “supposed” to according to the internet.

This is not to say the influencers themselves intend to hold and deceive a younger audience. Since social media itself is a free entity, popular influencers become the product, being paid to convince others to buy the commodities at hand.

To combat the issue of children mindlessly and obsessively looking at media, children should be taught some degree of media literacy. With the new digital age, parents or schools should be in charge of informing children about the reality of social media.

If more children can become aware of the falsity of influencer marketing and how to use technology more efficiently, we are hopeful this education can help the younger generation better navigate the digital age. 

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

1 Comment

  1. Robert davenport on

    What are some of the worst things that can happen when children ( not yet fully mentally and physically adult) are enticed into actions that are harmful to them? This example is not even close to the worst. Other contemporaneous articles are more indicative.

Leave A Reply