Parents, we need you to get involved! For the sake of your children.
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Following the frankly unsurprising headlines around the new headlines on Facebook, we've done a lot of thinking at Just For The Children.
Here are a few reasons why we need you to get involved and take back some of the power that this multi-trillion dollar industry has on our kids.
Understand the world of social media and the hardware that it needs for a child to engage. Both come with issues. Let's agree that the ubiquitous use of Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and other platforms have changed the way children socialize. They add complex layers to relationships that developing minds should absolutely not have to deal with at the age of 11 or 12. Coming of age in a hyper-stimulated , smart phone dominated world, where all that matters is your number of friends, likes and how cool you look in filter dominated platforms need to be considered.
2. Over-whelming information and data, offered up in ever contracting, constricting filter bubbles will not expand your child's world views. The "Facebook Files' have exposed what folks at the Center For Humane Technology already knew. That our children are the product. And perfectly targeted ads, like laser sharp darts, hit the center of the board every time! Bulls eye! And if you wonder why they're making trillions of dollars, while executing a perfect limbic hijack, check out "The Social Dilemma." It's well explained and made by Tristan Harris, the founder of the Center for Humane Technology.
3. The hardware that a child uses doesn't involve more than tapping in a passcode and entering a dazzling blue light flooded gated world, with simple touch screen scrolls that make most other activities which developing minds desperately need, seem mundane and almost cruel. The hardware these platforms use have some uses, but unless managed, children will miss critical developmental milestones. Research on the effects of just the hardware on the sleep of children have been well-presented by organizations like Common Sense Media, the NIH and the AAP. Sleep may be in the top three, when it comes to what screens, media and the attention economy have cost our children.
4. The Wall Street Journal’s new series “The Facebook Files” clearly outlines how Instagram is not created to optimize teenage mental health. Far from it. Facebook’s own research, shows that teenage girls point to Instagram as a primary reason for rising depression, some suicidal ideation and poor body image.
5. In The Wall Street Journal’s story recently, psychology professor Jean Twenge said very eloquently, “If you believe that R. J. Reynolds should have been more truthful about the link between smoking and lung cancer, then you should probably believe that Facebook should be more upfront about links to depression among teen girls.”
6. We don't believe that parents should have to fight this battle on their own. Because the ill effects of social media, exponential tech and algorithmically curated bubbles are now the problem of all of society.
Congress, its time to wake up and do your bit! You have to move faster! We're dealing with tech, some very smart kids who are hurting from parts of social media and need your help. Senators, we know you've come a long way, but it's is not enough.