It’s 2013, and we are going into the sixth grade. The beginning of a new era. Before the start of a new year, we need new clothes. After watching “Hannah Montana,” “Sam and Cat” and “iCarly,” we have some idea of what we want our style to be. We beg our moms to take us to the mall and when we get there, we make a beeline to Justice, Claire’s and Abercrombie Kids.

These television shows and stores are geared towards a certain demographic: tweens. Tweens are children ages nine through thirteen, according to The Spectator, that weird period where adolescents are not yet considered kids but are also not considered teenagers. These years are very important because they allow tweens to choose and discover who they want to be. 

Unfortunately, the “Tween Age” is almost nonexistent today. Even in my middle school days, the popular girls did not dress or act like the children they were. I remember leaving high school and thinking it was going to be hard for the younger girls. Instead of them competing against pigtails and age appropriate clothing, they are competing against 30 inch bussdowns and designer clothes. But the problem is way deeper than that. 

So, what is the reason? According to The Cardinal Chronicle, TikTok takes a huge amount of the blame. If y’all remember, before there was TikTok, there was, a platform for tweens that focused mainly on lip-singing and trending transitions. If you were on, you were following the trends of our generation and were considered “cool.” 

Then, here comes TikTok with its dancing, makeup, clothing and “Day In The Life” trends. These trends, and more, are teaching tweens how to act older than they actually are, causing girls to compare their lives to that of adult women. This in turn causes them to try to be like these adult women. Many young girls have been mistaken for grown women on this app. 

Social media, in general, has helped with the erasure of the tween. “Kids at a young age are exposed to what it looks like to be the “ideal” teenager or even adult and want to replicate that at their own age,” according to The Wrangler. Kids are like sponges, they soak up as much information as possible and then decide what to do with that information. With social media and its trends being the place where they get their information from, their uniqueness is being staunched. 

A quick google search of Miranda Cosgrove, the actress who played Carly in “iCarly,” when she was thirteen compared to that of Skai Jackson, the actress who played Zuri in “Jessie,” at the same age displays a huge difference. 

The loss of the “Tween Age” is not solely TikTok’s fault. According to Her Campus, television shows played a part in the death of the tween as well. Earlier, I mentioned “Hannah Montana,” “iCarly” and “Sam and Cat.” These shows depict the life of a pre-teen and the problems that they might encounter. The tweens of our generation had these shows that we could relate with because these actors were our age, acting our age. 

Now, let’s fast forward a couple years.  The younger generation is growing up on teen media shows such as “Euphoria.” These shows have actors that are older than their target audience, depicting scenes that are inappropriate for a twelve year old to consume. 

“Euphoria” is about a teenage girl with an addiction to drugs as well as a number of other teen issues. This show is an example of media that yes, many people like, but ultimately teach the younger generation harmful lessons. These lessons cause them to want to escape their young age and act older than they actually are. 

So, how can we combat this? I think parents should do a better job at surveilling what their children watch. We can foster children’s understanding of themselves by taking away the TV’s and phones and putting them in environments that encourage individuality and thinking for themselves.