Should Kids Be Kept Off Social Media?

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  • ‘Arguing Both Sides of the Law’ on Declassifying Documents
  • Good Careers in the Restaurant Industry
  • The Empty Society
  • Caveat Emptor, Crypto Investors

Credit…Gueorgui Pinkhassov/Magnum Photos

To the Editor:

Re “It Was a Mistake to Let Kids Onto Social Media Sites. Here’s What to Do Now” (Opinion guest essay,, Aug. 5):

Yuval Levin argues that it’s a mistake to let kids onto social media sites. I would argue that it is more of a mistake to let adults onto social media sites. Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to be doing their jobs and making the world run? It’s no surprise the world is falling apart when these adults are glued to their phones all day.

In addition, most of the negative and bad content online is created by adults. It floods the internet, causing sadness, confusion and so much chaos. We kids just want to chat and make each other laugh. Why should we be the ones who have our fun taken away?

I think Mr. Levin and the rest of the grown-ups should get off their phones and tablets and get back to work.

Clay Kryst
Los Angeles
The writer is 16 years old.

To the Editor:

Social media is definitely damaging for kids under a certain age, and many issues are definitely exacerbated on social media. However, what we need to do now is more complex than just keeping kids off social media.

Kids are on social media right now,whether people like it or not. As a teen, I am definitely “acutely aware” that social media has the potential to be very harmful. I am also “acutely aware” that if more teens were taught how to handle social media and the multitude of pressures that come with it (and could access mental health help easily if they needed it), the damage of social media would be lessened.

Focusing on future steps to keep young children off social media could potentially have an impact. More important, however, there must be urgent action to help the kids who arecurrently on social media (or will be soon). Everyone, no matter where you stand on this issue, should be pushing for increased education around social media pressures and how to manage them and initiatives that make mental health care more accessible for teens.

Rushaad Mistry
Foster City, Calif.
The writer is a high school senior.

To the Editor:

Yuval Levin’s suggestion is an interesting one, but experience tells us that kids are savvy at getting around age restrictions and safety guards. Kids today are forming connections using technology and growing up with a smartphone in their hands, so we must meet the moment by taking a holistic approach to keeping them safe online.

We need to ensure that social media platforms are designed to protect children from bad actors. And we must support parents by providing them with tools to have effective communication with their kids about online safety. Age limits alone will not take the place of these two fundamental elements.

Research shows that parents shy away from having difficult conversations about safety topics. For example, one recent survey shows that while the majority of parents have spoken with their kids about being safe on social media generally, less than a third have talked directly about sharing and resharing nude selfies.

In short, parents need support so they can feel confident having early and judgment-free conversations with their kids. Platforms need to be proactive in designing their platforms with child safety in mind. And youth need access to modern, relevant education on these tough topics to reduce shame and create a safety net.

Julie Cordua
Los Angeles
The writer is chief executive of Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology and programs to defend children from sexual abuse.

‘Arguing Both Sides of the Law’ on Declassifying Documents

To the Editor:

On July 25, 2017, The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking to compel disclosure by the C.I.A. of records pertaining to a covert program on arming and training rebel forces in Syria. The Times argued that President Donald Trump had declassified the records when he referred to them in a post on Twitter.

The Trump administration fought against disclosing the records, arguing that Mr. Trump’s tweet did not declassify the records. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled for Mr. Trump and against The Times: “Because declassification, even by the President, must follow established procedures.”

Yet now, Mr. Trump and his cohort are contending that he had the ability to declassify things at will. Even if one buys into that argument, there is no proof that Mr. Trump ever declassified the documents found at Mar-a-Lago. This doesn’t surprise me at all, because arguing both sides of the law depending only on its political effect has become the paradigm of the Republican Party.

But Donald Trump has still not answered why those documents were at his club. They were not his to take. They belong to the American people.

Fred Polvere
Yonkers, N.Y.

Good Careers in the Restaurant Industry

Jeremy Allen White as Carmen Berzatto in FX’s “The Bear.”Credit…FX

To the Editor:

Re “Hulu’s ‘The Bear’ and the Restaurant Industry’s Long Overdue Reckoning,” by Saru Jayaraman (Opinion guest essay,, Aug. 7), which asserts that the restaurant industry pays inadequate wages:

This guest essay is misleading and unnecessarily provocative. Today’s restaurant and food service industry is innovative and competitive, and provides unparalleled opportunities for employees from every background. As the nation’s most diverse industry, restaurants offer a chance for success and a career for life to everyone.

In the current economic climate, earning potential is a key driver for every employee. Earning a tipped income allows restaurant employees to bring home a median of $27 an hour, with some earning as much as $41 an hour. When this system has been threatened, tipped workers have fought to keep it and have stopped every effort to eliminate the tipped minimum wage in the last 20 years.

Well-compensated employees provide great customer experiences, and there are many different compensation models that work well for companies. More important, these team members are proud of their work.

The National Restaurant Association was originally formed in 1919 to defend restaurants against egg brokers engaged in collusion and price fixing. Today, we continue our work of serving every restaurant and providing a pathway to success for every employee.

Michelle Korsmo
The writer is the president and C.E.O. of the National Restaurant Association and C.E.O. of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The Empty Society

A composite of photos taken at Government Center, Boston, over about an hour in March 2022, showing only people with their phones.Credit…Photo Illustration by Pelle Cass

To the Editor:

Re “The Medium Really Is the Message,” by Ezra Klein (column, Aug. 14):

The stupefying effect of mass entertainment and popular culture has laid waste to our brains. Just as muscle strength is maintained by the principle of “use it or lose it,” so are the mental operations of the brain for critical, original thinking and for creativity.

Much of our entertainment is a time filler. Passive watching of entertainment and celebrity worship deaden the drive to make something of one’s life. The aloneness of contemporary society has fostered the perverse effects of social media, including disinformation and our current culture wars.

We have only ourselves to blame, not the medium, as we fiddle with the remote and go channel surfing. Life, instead of being really lived, has become a spectator sport.

Ronald Kallen
Highland Park, Ill.

Caveat Emptor, Crypto Investors

To the Editor:

Re “Investors Seek Return of Crypto” (Business, Aug. 19):

I just cannot feel one iota of sympathy for those individuals who invested money in crypto currencies. Perhaps the visages of smiling celebrities hawking a product with no practical purpose or reasonable method of analyzing investment potential temporarily seduced them into this fantasy of quick profits. Caveat emptor, just like all other investment opportunities.

Stephen Green

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