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North Carolina School Removes Bathroom Mirrors to Encourage Students to Focus on Class Rather Than TikTok
A middle school in North Carolina has found a solution to reduce the use of TikTok among its students by removing bathroom mirrors.
In 2021, there were reports of disruptions caused by the popular social media app. School administrators stated that TikTok challenges were putting students and staff at risk, resulting in class cancellations and increased security measures.
Southern Alamance Middle School in Graham, North Carolina, was particularly affected in terms of attendance and productivity. According to Les Atkins, a spokesman for the Alamance-Burlington School System, some students were spending excessive time in the bathroom making TikTok videos. Atkins shared this information with WFMY-TV.
The school revealed that some students were using the bathroom up to nine times a day, primarily for the purpose of creating TikTok content.
Following the removal of the mirrors earlier this month, there has been a significant decrease in bathroom usage, as stated in a statement obtained by USA TODAY.
A different approach
Southern Alamance Middle School took a distinct approach compared to other schools nationwide, some of which have banned cell phones altogether. This decision faced pushback from parents, students, and education advocates due to safety concerns.
As USA TODAY previously reported, school shootings reached a record high last year. Many parents want to maintain an open line of communication with their children, not only for emergencies but also to ensure they can reach them as needed.
Atkins explained to Business Insider that safety was a top concern for parents at Southern Alamance, and the school administration took that into account while devising its plan. According to Atkins, the faculty believes it is essential for students to learn responsibility towards their devices, and completely removing them hinders that opportunity. Additionally, technology is necessary for proper student tracking. The middle school utilizes a “digital hall pass system” to monitor students’ whereabouts throughout the day.
“The pass allows students to check in and out when leaving class, so we know where students are at all times for safety and accountability,” Atkins stated, as reported by Business Insider.
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Schools don’t want children on cell phones. Is banning them the solution?
How widespread is social media usage among teenagers?
Approximately 95% of teenagers aged 13 to 17 have reported using social media, with over a third claiming they use the platforms “almost constantly,” according to an advisory released last year by the U.S. Surgeon General.
The advisory highlighted some benefits of social media for youth but also acknowledged the substantial risks to mental health and well-being.
Although most social platforms allow individuals aged 13 or older to create accounts, some states are pushing for legislation that would make it harder for teens to access these platforms.
Florida is the latest state to implement restrictions, as previously reported by USA TODAY. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that would prohibit social media usage for minors under the age of 16.
The proposal still needs to pass in the Senate before reaching Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk. If it becomes law, it will take effect in July. However, similar measures in Ohio and Utah have faced legal challenges.