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Social Media Safety

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Social Media Safety

This week, Senate lawmakers subjected social media CEOs to intense questioning in a deeply emotional and frequently tense session, focusing on the perilous aspects their platforms present to children. Issues such as sexual predation, content promoting suicide and eating disorders, cyberbullying, and addictive functionalities were vigorously addressed.

Is 13 the Appropriate Age for Social Media?

Technically, there already exists a rule prohibiting children under 13 from utilizing platforms that target them with advertisements without parental consent: The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, enacted in 2000—well before today’s adolescents were born. Its objective was to safeguard children's online privacy by necessitating websites and online services to disclose clear privacy policies and obtain parental consent before collecting personal information about minors, among other provisions. In compliance, social media companies have generally prohibited individuals under 13 from registering for their services, although it's widely acknowledged that children often bypass these restrictions, either with or without parental permission.

Nevertheless, the landscape has evolved, and online privacy is no longer the sole concern regarding children's online activities. Issues such as cyberbullying, harassment, and the risk of mental health issues like eating disorders and suicidal ideation are now at the forefront.

For years, there has been advocacy among parents, educators, and technology experts to delay granting children access to phones and social media until they are older, as evidenced by initiatives like the "Wait Until 8th" pledge, wherein parents vow not to provide smartphones to their children until 8th grade, typically around age 13 or 14. Some advocate for even later access, such as at ages 16 or 17. However, neither social media companies nor the government has taken concrete steps to raise the age limit.

Another challenge arises in that children who have never engaged with social media may find themselves ill-prepared to navigate these platforms when granted unrestricted access upon reaching 18. Check out this article and read more on the topic of social media safety with kids.



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