This week, Instagram updated its settings for users aged 12 to 17 in response to concerns about the harmful effects of social media on children. However, despite the company's efforts, more effective ways to protect kids from harmful content are still needed.
The rise in anxiety, depression, and suicide among teenagers due to the increasing number of people using mobile phones is too much to ignore. Since 2009 the number of emergency room visits for these conditions has increased significantly for both boys and girls.
Studies have shown that excessive use of social media can have detrimental effects on mental health.
Although it's not always harmful, teenagers do not seem to be affected by using digital media, such as watching TV or Netflix on their mobile devices. Using social media, which is defined as not more than a couple of hours a day, is also acceptable. However, when teenagers start to spend a substantial amount of time on it, the negative effects of it become more severe.
According to data from the Big Tech companies, Instagram's users are more prone to feeling unattractive due to the social comparisons they see on the platform. In an internal memo, the company noted that teens blamed the app for the rising rates of depression and anxiety.
Although adults should be allowed to do whatever they want, they should refrain from harming others. This is the reason why legislators did not ban cigarettes or alcohol, even though young minds are different. They should be kept away from products that can alter their minds, and alcohol and cigarettes should be prohibited for minors at all costs.
Even though it's expensive for minors to use social media, it's still important for parents to have more control over what their kids are exposed to online. Instagram's new default settings are not enough. The government should step in and provide more effective ways to protect kids from harmful content.
Various state and federal laws need to be enacted to protect teenagers from online threats. One of the most effective measures that can be taken is to require social media platforms to verify the age of their customers. This can be done by using birth certificates, driver's licenses, or passports. In addition, minors should also be required to get permission from their parents or guardian before opening an account.
The regulations do not infringe on the First Amendment's free speech rights. All social media platforms have user agreements that enable them to collect and sell the data that they collect. The government should also be able to regulate the contractual behavior of minors on these platforms.
The irresponsible profiteering of the Big Tech companies has led to a rise in depression and anxiety among children. As a result, the owners of these platforms are not being held accountable for the harmful effects of their activities.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Cable.