By Alma Lizarraga
Minors should be protected from going online and having their data collected by social media companies.
Younger than ever, children are on the world’s most used online platforms; TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. TikTok is used the most by these younger groups.
There aren’t many restrictions put on social media platforms enforcing security for younger users. The ones in place are outdated and can’t account for today’s online risks.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was enacted by Congress in 1998. The rule is in place to allow parents to protect their kids from having their information collected.
COPPA has been criticized by social media users and social media personnel. Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly opposed COPPA in 2011. Since then many other public figures have come out against it.
COPPA was shown to be financially damaging to smaller businesses, as their penalties for non-compliance can put businesses out of practice.
During President Biden’s State of the Union Address, he mentioned a mental health crisis in young people due to the lack of accountability from social media platforms.
Biden mentioned tech companies collecting data from children to advertise to them.
He has appointed some social media critics to positions of power and has added funds to further research the negatives of social media.
Accountability from these companies is important, but what is necessary is a new bill to reflect the times and keep up with the tech companies’ technology.
A vast amount of people do not understand what they are agreeing to when they sign up for social media, or how much of their information is being collected.
Children and teenagers are even less aware of this. They are a lot more vulnerable to, not only data collection but the advertisements targeting them based on that data.
Current online laws are not reflecting today’s social media usage, because they’re not addressing the issue.
Biden’s approach is correct. There needs to be more research put into exposing what exactly tech companies are doing with our data.
There needs to be more studies on how data is collected and how it correlates to mental health as it is a fairly new problem. Younger generations may not even realize the impact this collection and social media influence is having on them.
Social media has made it necessary for children to learn how to navigate very personal ads that directly influence them.
It is important that Biden not only follow through with his approach, but also that he begins the process of regulating tech companies with new bills.
These bills should take into account how little information the public has on what collecting data does, and should help parents protect their children from collections.
It is important that they don’t interfere with social media companies from running smoothly through implementing deterrents.
New laws should be put into place that do not harm the progression of social media. However, we need to reevaluate how much of what is going on in data collection is ethical, especially when it is collected from children.