Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Enough is Enough


Enough Is Enough (EIE) applauds the efforts of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to shine a national spotlight on the harms of social media, stating it presents "profound risk of harm' for children. Protecting children from online exploitation is a nonpartisan issue that deserves wide bipartisan support.

 EIE has been exposing the tragedy of the online exploitation of children for 30 years. Sadly, it often takes a public health crisis to get government and Congress to say Enough Is Enough. Parents cannot shoulder the entire burden of protecting their children in the digital age from online predators and pornographers, and even technology platforms who put profits over the safety and welfare of children.

 The advisory issued Tuesday, May 23 by the Surgeon General, which acknowledges both social media's benefits and harms to young people, calls for increased research into its impact on youth mental health, as well as action from policymakers and technology companies.

 The advisory notes:

• Social media use among kids is “nearly universal”: 95% of kids ages 13 to 17 report using social media; more than a third saying they use it “almost constantly.”

• Although 13 is the minimum age to use social media sites in the US, nearly 40% of kids ages 8 to 12 use the platforms. (*EIE will continue to push for the implementation of widely available age verification technology to keep kids under 13 from using these age-inappropriate platforms.)

• Correlations between social media use and depression and anxiety, as well as poor sleep, online harassment, and low self-esteem, particularly for girls.

It is necessary for the current Administration to recognize the harms caused by unregulated social media companies who avoid accountability and corporate responsibility by trying to hide behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Both federal and state government must prioritize efforts to curb the online exploitation of children. It takes all of us doing our part.


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