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Is Social Media Depriving Us of Our Childhood?

In the past couple of weeks, TikTok has been flooded with videos in which retail workers complain and share stories about being “bullied” or “harassed” by young girls raging over beauty products. A few of the commenters even asked stores to institute an age limit or to require that preteens be accompanied by a parent. 
Sephora Kids have become a menace to retail employees.
Emily Atrokhov
“Sephora Kids” have become a menace to retail employees.

The pandemic was hard on all of us, and just recently we’re beginning to see the lasting effects of a year in quarantine, one of them being the infamous “Sephora Kids.” If you’re a consistent shopper at Sephora you’ve probably noticed young girls scavenging the store for the latest Drunk Elephant or Rare Beauty products, with their new iPhone in hand and their parents’ money ready to be spent. And with this, the question arises: are they all too young to be stressing over makeup and skin care products? At that age, my friends and I were busy convincing our parents to give us extra cash so we could reach the discount price at Claire’s. So how did times change so much?

Well, while we were all sick and bored of being stuck at home, younger generations joined social platforms earlier than recommended. Senior Sydney Mitchell said, “Those who were exposed to the internet at a younger age due to the pandemic didn’t really have a chance to experience a true interactive childhood without technology at the palm of their hands. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t give me an iPad to be entertained, I had to find my own entertainment.” This early access to social media has pressured younger generations into growing up too quickly, thus resulting in Sephora runs at only 12 years old rather than childhood playdates consisting of bike rides around the neighborhood or testing out a new slime recipe. 

In the past couple of weeks, TikTok has been flooded with videos where retail workers complain and share stories of being ‘bullied’ or ‘harassed’ by young girls raging over beauty products. A few of the commenters even asked stores to institute an age limit or require preteens to be accompanied by a parent. 

However, with this discussion comes the question of why young girls are buying makeup and skincare products meant for older women. The answer is ironic, they’re seeing these products be celebrated by beautiful women across social media platforms, such as TikTok. Mitchell continues, “The young girls who are obsessed over makeup trends stem from the fact that they spend a majority of their time scrolling on Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok, are seeing certain trends happening and [they] feel as if they must adhere to them to be deemed pretty.” 

Senior Cynthia Bolanos, a cosmetology student at Thomas Edison, says “Social media plays a huge role in these young girls because they have access to watching these influencers and viewing [products] they use even though they have no clue what these certain products are used for. Introducing makeup at a young age can also contribute to social pressures and unrealistic beauty standards, potentially impacting self-image and self-worth.” So it all comes down to the same recurring story, the influence of social media and its seemingly never-ending misleading ideals. 

In retrospect, it’s not merely about whether young girls are shopping at more mature stores, or wearing makeup, but about the noticeable effects of growing up in a technology-encapsulated world. Kids don’t get to be kids anymore, they’re rushing their childhood and being influenced to grow up at younger ages. With digital media, kids have access to a wider spectrum of content, which in effect might be influencing them to mature sooner.

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About the Contributors
Andrea Criado Galindo
Andrea Criado Galindo, Staff Reporter
Andrea Criado, is a senior and writer for the culture and bilingual barons sections. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, reading and walking her dog.
Emily Atrokhov, Staff Photographer
Jonah Peters
Jonah Peters, Staff Photographer
Jonah Peters is a senior and does photography for the Tattler. This is his first official year on the Tattler (although he unofficially took photos for them the previous year as well). In his free time he plays guitar, tennis, and also does his own photography.

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