Who is responsible for what children view on social networks? | Media Pyro


A judge recently dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit against TikTok that blamed the company for the death of a child who tried to participate in a viral “choking challenge.” Notably, the Choking Game predates social networking websites and has been a concern of the Centers for Disease Control for more than 20 years.

The judge ruled that TikTok was protected from such claims by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because TikTok only shared videos created by other users.

All popular social media apps use algorithms or codes that work behind the scenes to send videos or posts to users who have viewed similar content. Twitter has an option for users to change their home timeline” algorithm is turned off, but TikTok does not allow users to turn off their algorithm because the algorithm is essential to the design of TikTok. TikTok, like other social media platforms, prohibits dangerous content and encourages other users to report it.

Despite the many positive aspects of social media, its use by children and adolescents is not without risk. This can expose children to additional forms of bullying, pornography, identity theft and online predators. It’s understandable that parents are nervous about the online world their children are navigating and don’t know how to control the use of unfamiliar technology.

According to the Children’s Online Privacy Policy, children under the age of 13 are generally not allowed to create accounts on social media websites, but children often register accounts under false dates of birth. Many parents do not even suspect that their children have such accounts. Today, most online activity takes place on personal devices (tablets, laptops or phones). Most families do not have a special “computer station” where parents can look over their child’s shoulder from time to time.

This individual relationship with technology is why online K-12 education and honest conversations about online activity are important, and why laws that attempt to replace parental responsibility with government authority are doomed to failure.

As with junk food, at some point it is the parent’s responsibility to step in and teach the child to maintain a healthy body and mind and monitor unsafe behavior.


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