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Mom creates social media contract for daughter in the face of increasing ads

THAILAND - SEPTEMBER 03, 2014: All of popular social media icons
Posted at 1:53 PM, Jan 05, 2024

A recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports in 2022, social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, X, and YouTube collectively made nearly $11 billion in advertising revenue from users younger than 18 in the United States.

"I'm glad that this is coming to light, but it just highlights the need for outside regulation," said Titania Jordan, Chief Parenting Officer with Bark Technologies, a content monitoring company for all kid's devices.

"There's no way that a company that generates billions of dollars from children under the age of 18 is going to truly and in an unbiased way tweak their platforms to make it so that children aren't on them as much that just, that doesn't add up."

Mom Ayanna Meyers and her 12-year-old daughter Michaela came up with a contract with parameters for the tween's social media and online use.

"We came up with some times when she's supposed to be on, some websites that were pre-approved and that she should not have any expectation of privacy," said Ayanna.

"It's a little bit of a double-edged sword because kids communicate so much via social media and so I don't want to deprive her of that, but we have had some serious conversations about the safety aspect of it and that is the source of any restrictions that we have. It's about keeping her safe and helping her recognize what is appropriate and what is not."

The ads are still a reality. While the Harvard study didn't analyze what specific ads are being shown to youth, Michaela shared some of what she's seen.

"They're like, play this game to see if you have ADHD."

"Buy this new truck. It's like 30% down. I don't know what it is."

"They're always like, "Are you looking for a full or part-time job?' And I'm like, "No! I'm 12 please go away ad!"

"Some things on social media can be like unsettling or like not safe. I do my best to try and avoid those things. They make me uncomfortable, and it makes me a little uncomfortable to think that other people have to experience that and see that," Michaela said.

Jordan says parents should be on the same platforms their children are using to see for themselves what their kids are viewing. Also, she says caregivers need to have their children's passwords for social media accounts and should look up what if any, parental controls are available for the platform.

"Take the time to Google news stories. Google the name of whatever your child has access to plus dangers and just see what can happen. And then talk about those potential risks with your children in an age-appropriate way."

Jordan also created a Facebook group called Parenting in a Tech World. Anyone is welcome to join.

"We were having these exact conversations. Whatever you're struggling with, whatever you have stumbled across, feel free to come to that group and share. And you even can share anonymously if you don't want to have that info tied back to your name. And you can get some really great help from other parents who have been there and done that."