NTIA requests comments on protecting minors online
On Wednesday, Chamber of Progress submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to its request for comments on best practices to protect minors’ mental health, safety and privacy online. In addition to learning about the risks associated with minors’ use of social media, the agency specifically sought comment on technologies that impact minors’ wellbeing and best practices for both tech companies and caregivers.
The comments, available here, outline the benefits of social media for marginalized youth; highlight platforms’ existing child-safety-promoting tools; and urge the agency to avoid impeding the work many platforms have already done to protect minors online.
“Marginalized and at-risk youth have the most to gain from social media engagement, particularly if they face adversity or isolation offline. Researchers have identified that social media can be beneficial by offering meaningful social interactions, confirmed by a recent Pew survey indicating 81% of American teens say social media makes them feel more connected, while 68% say social media makes them feel that they have a support network in face of hardship. The network benefit is most critical for marginalized children, such as youth with disabilities, low-income youth, or those who identify as LGBTQ+.”
Chamber of Progress has backed federal proposals for additional research into the impact of social media on children, including the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act, which passed earlier this year, authorizing NIH to conduct a research program on the impact of digital media on child development.
A recent Pew study found that majorities of teens say social media provides them with a space for connection, creativity and support. When asked about the overall impact of social media on them personally, more teens responded that its effect was mostly positive (32%) than those who said it was mostly negative (9%). Many respondents credited social media for developing deeper friendships and connections.