Social media platforms proving dangerous to younger generations

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 8:13 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Social media companies are once again on the defensive over accusations of negative impacts on the younger population.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is among a number of lawmakers calling for change after hearing the latest troubling reports.

“When you find out that Facebook’s own research finds that more than 13% of teenage girls say that Instagram made their thoughts of suicide worse,” Klobuchar said. “We want our kids to be safe online, safe from algorithms that promote harmful content. Safe from companies that care more about their bottom line than protecting our kids’ privacy.”

Klobuchar says this has been an ongoing issue. In 2016, she pushed the Anna Westin Act, which included increased training and education on eating disorders.

She recently held a roundtable with parents, where she heard their concerns about the lack of privacy protections and spread of harmful content on social media platforms.

“I have girls that are 15 and 16-year-olds. They have been bombarded on their phones for years now related to the algorithms,” said Amara Hanel. “Just looking for things that don’t even seem to trigger, and there is lots and lots of things that come through Snapchat, through Instagram, those types of platforms that they are using.”

“What she has access to seek out is beyond appropriate for someone her age, according to the platform, because there is no mystery about it,” Natalie Kennedy added. “Also, what is coming into her private messages. Try as I might, I cannot figure out how to stop some of the stuff that is coming to her.”

Several senators are now working on legislation to increase protections for children on social media.

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