Talking points: Should social media apps have a “teenager mode” that filters content and limits usage time?


Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Kelly Ho |

Latest Articles

Blind Malaysian student at Cambridge University on why she studies law

Choi Nok-him, 13, SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School

Definitely. Social media apps are packed with a tonne of information which sometimes includes foul language and graphic images, not to mention hate speech and cyberbullying. Because of this, we should be filtering the content on social media apps to protect teens who have impressionable minds.

Many teens spend an excessive amount of time on these apps, which takes away from exercising and sleeping. This is not good for their physical health and can affect their mental health, too. Having a ‘teen mode’ could help control their usage time of these apps, which should lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Lee Cheuk-ling, 13, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Absolutely not. The main purpose of a “teen mode” would be to limit usage time and protect teens from cyberbullying and inappropriate content. But cyber threats don’t exist only on social media apps. If we censor teens in those apps, they will only move on to other platforms. Instead of avoiding the problem, parents should take a more proactive role in guiding teens to overcome any online threats. This way, teens will be able to use social media apps responsibly.

Former US President Barack Obama says 'cancel culture' isn't the way to improve society

Isaac Fok, 13, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

I think social media apps should have a “teen mode”. There is a lot of inappropriate content on those apps such as violent videos, horrifying photos and foul language, which teenagers are likely to learn from.

Teens spend a lot of time on these apps and then complain about not having enough time to study for their tests and exams. Staring at a screen for a long time is not good for their eyes, so it’s important to have a “teen mode” to limit their usage of these apps.

Tiffany Li, 14, Stamford American School Hong Kong

Yes, I think those apps should have a “teen mode”. Content that is inappropriate needs to be filtered. Negative content can have a serious negative effect on the mindset of some teens. Teens also struggle to control the time they spend on their phones. They can be on their social media apps for hours straight, which is harmful to their eyes and causes them to spend less time on their studies. This is why a “teen mode” that restricts their usage time and filters inappropriate content is needed.

Pasha Chung, 12, Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section)

Yes, they should. Although a lot of the inappropriate content on social media apps is age-restricted or is removed when reported, some will still slip through and be viewed by teens who may be affected by it in a negative way.

Social media apps offer news on hot topics and the latest trends, which attracts teens to push aside their schoolwork and spend more time on the apps. I think having a “teen mode” would be the best way to help them avoid wasting time on social media or being affected by inappropriate content.

Video stars: Russian child influencers score millions of fans on Instagram

Zoe Lam Ching-yi, 14, Pope Paul VI College

I think a “teen mode” that can restrict the content on social media apps as well as usage time would have a number of benefits. It would prevent teens from spending too much time online and would protect young people from indecent pictures and videos. That way, teens can have a more positive and enriching experience with social media.

Lily Tsang, 17, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

Definitely. Many teens are immature and can easily get affected by the information they see on the internet. There is very little censorship online, and people can often post what ever they want. Teens might read hateful comments with foul language and use it in their everyday life. It is necessary to have a “teen mode” to make the cyber world a safer environment.

Winky Kwok, 13, Pope Paul VI College

I think social media apps should have a “teen mode”, but I don’t think people aged 18 or over need to use it because they should have the freedom to watch whatever they want. It’s OK to shield children from reading and watching certain things until they are adults, but you can’t protect them forever. I also think having a function that limits usage time is not helpful; young people need to learn how to have better self-control on their own.

Talking points: Should junk food come with health warnings?

Yoonjung Choi, 14, Hong Kong International School

Definitely. A “teen mode” would be very helpful as it would reduce students’ distractions. By limiting their usage time and filtering non-educational content, students will waste less time looking at useless content, and read things like the news on social media instead. If companies were to implement this mode, I think students’ productivity would go up.

Teresa Kwok, 14, South Island School

Certainly! There is so much fake news on the internet which can be very misleading for teens. A lot of teens will spend hours on their social media apps and neglect their studies. Hours of screen time can also be very damaging to their eyes. To solve these problems, social media apps should have a “teen mode” that filters content and limits usage time.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should the sale of junk food be banned in school canteens/kiosks?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda