Mirrors removed from North Carolina school over TikTok videos – USA TODAY

A North Carolina middle school has come up with a way to curb TikTok use among its students: removing bathroom mirrors.
Reports of disruptions because of the popular social media app began to surface in 2021, when school administrators said that TikTok challenges were endangering both students and staff, and in some cases, canceling classes and increasing security.
For the Southern Alamance Middle School in Graham, North Carolina, it was affecting attendance and productivity. Students at the Burlington-area school were “going to the bathroom for long periods of time and making TikTok videos,” Les Atkins, a spokesman for the Alamance-Burlington School System, told WFMY-TV.
Some students were going to the bathroom as many as nine times a day, largely to make the videos, according to the school.
Since the mirrors were removed earlier this month, the school has seen a “drastic decrease” in bathroom use, according to a statement obtained by USA TODAY.
Southern Alamance chose to go in a different direction compared to other schools across the nation, some of which have removed cell phones entirely. Some parents, students and education advocates have pushed back on that for multiple reasons, the most prominent being safety concerns.
School shootings reached a record high again last year, USA TODAY previously reported. Many parents want the line of communication they have with their kids to remain open, but not just in the case of an emergency, but also to ensure that logistically, they can reach their kids when they need to.
Atkins told Business Insider that safety was a key concern for parents with children at Southern Alamance, and the administration heeded that, but already had a different plan in mind.
Southern Alamance faculty believes that its students need to learn how to be responsible with devices and that removing them takes away that opportunity, according to Atkins. Moreover, technology needs to be in place to ensure that all students are accounted for. The middle school uses a “digital hall pass system” to track its students’ whereabouts throughout the day, he said.
“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 said, according to Business Insider.
‘It’s hell out here’:Why one teacher’s bold admission opened a floodgate
Schools don’t want kids on cellphones.Is banning them the solution?
Nearly 95% of teenagers between 13 and 17 report using social media, with more than a third of them saying they use the platforms “almost constantly,” according to a U.S. Surgeon General advisory released last year.
While the report found some benefits of social media among youth, it also found “ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm” to the mental health and well-being of children.
Though most social platforms allow anyone 13 or older to set up accounts, legislation being pushed in some states would make it more difficult for teens to access social platforms.
Florida is the most recent state to usher in restrictions, USA TODAY previously reported. Its House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would ban social media for minors under the age of 16.
The proposal still has to pass in the Senate before making it to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk. If it clears, the law will go into effect in July, but legal trouble may be difficult to avoid as we have seen with similar measures in Ohio and Utah.

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