Should high schools join the ban on TikTok?


Should our high school prepare to mourn the loss of one of our favorite social media platforms? The Governor
of Montana, Greg Gianforte has recently banned the popular social media app, TikTok on all Montana university networks and state owned devices due to safety concerns over the app’s parent
company, ByteDance. Additionally, in
January of 2023, Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill in January, that would ban the downloading of TikTok on any U.S. device. This comes from tension between the U.S. and China over the national security threat it poses. This leads us to the question, should high schools take the same precautions for their students’ safety?
Park High school has full authority to filter anything off of our Wi-Fi server. However, such a ban has never been discussed in our school system. Principal, Lori Dust said “I would like to see more human interaction instead of everyone on their phone.” Dust also mentioned that an
overall social media ban would be beneficial, as social media is a big hotspot for bullying and harassment; however, no
such plans are currently being considered. “I would be upset if I couldn’t watch TikTok during study hall,” said freshman, Kamryn Miller. Social media apps, like TikTok, are very popular ways to spend down time in study hall and during lunch, but when does it become too much of a distraction? The
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states on their website, “On average, children ages 8-12 in the United States spend four to six hours a day watching or using screens, and teens spend up to nine hours.” A school wide ban of platforms such as TikTok could help reduce the number of hours kids in our school spend in front of the screen, but the students could easily bypass the block by simply turning off their Wi-Fi.
Another student, Senior, Carter Frederickson, would also be upset if our school banned TikTok. Frederickson is a regular user, being on the app after every class. He is also attending MSU this fall, a university that has banned the app, however the ban on TikTok did not affect his decision at all. Students of these universities can still access the app, if they choose to turn off their Wi-Fi. In the end, it will be fascinating to see how high schools in our state choose to move forward with protecting their students’ data. Is a ban too far or not far enough?