The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
If someone asked what the one thing on the Internet I wish we talked more about it would be this: TikTok. The thing about the internet is that information is being spread so much more rapidly than ever before. Kids are able to learn what it’s like to be a teenager, to learn what it’s like to be an adult faster than ever. When you were 12 years old and you had no access to what seventeen year olds were doing unless you had an older brother or older sister. Even then, they probably weren’t seventeen and they probably weren’t that cool of an older sibling. But now an eleven year old can open up Tik Tok and see exactly what seventeen year olds are doing and wearing. They see how they’re acting and how they talk. It’s allowing them to adopt that culture faster than ever. It’s not some hypothetical thing where I’m like “Oh my God… I felt like such a weirdo in middle school.” It’s true. You were a weirdo and these kids aren’t. They have the Internet and they see what the future is and are able to easily adopt it.
There are plenty of kids nowadays who I see on the street, dressed very similar to me and they end up being in sixth grade. It’s proving problematic. These kids see what life is like for young adults and are adapting to it. They’re showing at risk behaviors such as experimenting with alcohol and drugs younger and younger. Psychiatrists say usually at-risk behaviors start in 9th and 10th grade, but with the ready access available to these kids it’s appearing in 6th and 7th grade. According to a report by the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “offenders under age 15 represent the leading edge of the juvenile crime problem, and their numbers are growing.” The crimes committed by younger teens and preteens are growing in severity, too: “Person offenses, which once constituted 16 percent of the total court cases for this age group now constitute 25 percent” (Juvenile Justice).
In today’s society many kids are growing up in single-parent households or with two working parents. In turn they look towards social media for a parent or role model and are finding young adults who are using this platform. They’re choosing them to look up to. It is getting them into trouble. When I was a child, I had Hannah Montana and Nickelodeon to look up to. Those are no longer the role models for these kids. Many of them don’t even watch TV anymore and when they do it’s often Netflix shows meant for adults that they get recommendations for off of social media. It’s alarming and troubling to see kids growing up so fast and not enjoying their time as carefree children.