APA Speaks Up on Child Social Media Use

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The American Psychological Association is finally weighing in on social media usage for children with a new set of guidelines surrounding the content children are exposed to online.

The new guidelines address how parents, teachers, policymakers, tech companies, and health care workers can work to ensure kids develop healthy social media habits.

“Social media is neither inherently harmful nor beneficial to our youth,” said APA President Thema Bryant.

“But because young people mature at different rates, some are more vulnerable than others to the content and features on many social media platforms that science has demonstrated can influence healthy development.”

“Just as we require young people to be trained in order to get a driver’s license, our youth need instruction in the safe and healthy use of social media.”

According to recent Pew Research Center surveys, 95% of teens are present on social media platforms.

Another recent survey says parents have noticed a change in their children’s behaviors after they begin using social media.

Social Media Under Scrutiny

Social media companies have increasingly come under legal scrutiny as the number of users continues to grow.

The US is more seriously considering action against Chinese-owned TikTok following disclosures about how it stores data and how it might be compelled to turn that data over to the Chinese government.

Even more legislation has been introduced to keep kids off social media altogether.

A bipartisan group of senators recently introduced legislation to prohibit all children under 13 from using social media and require parental permission for users under 18 to create accounts.

“The idea that an algorithm has some sort of First Amendment right to get into your kid’s brain is preposterous,” says Democrat Senator Brian Schatz (HI).

“And the idea that a 13-year-old has some First Amendment right to have an algorithm shove upsetting content down their throat is also preposterous.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Tom Cotton (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Katie Britt (R-AL).

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