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The Mission Chronicle

The Pitfalls of Social Media

The Pitfalls of Social Media
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Social media: whenever you think of this two-word phrase, you either think about one, it’s useful for getting information, or two, it’s harmful to people. On January 31, 2024, in Washington, D.C., people had different points of view about social media’s influence. 

Big tech CEOs testified before the Senate on child safety laws. According to The New York Times article “Silicon Valley Battles States Over New Online Safety Laws for Children,” by Natasha Singer, “A landmark new California law, the Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, would require many popular social media and multiplayer video game apps to turn on the highest privacy settings — and turn off potentially risky features, like messaging systems allowing adult strangers to contact young people — by default for minors.

Tech CEOs like Shou Chew, Mark Zuckerberg, Adam Mosseri, Jason Citron, Evan Spiegel, and Linda Yaccarino were present to hear how social media has affected children. Parents of children are suing these tech giants. Tech CEOs are getting sued for not supporting the child safety laws, and the parents are angry that there is a law that social media can’t be sued for harm. Congress is trying to change that law to make tech companies take responsibility. 

Tech CEOs are facing a lot of hatred and backlash. Families affected by social media harm are praying for their downfall. Even though the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was discouraged from doing so, he stood up and turned around to face the families who said Instagram and Facebook contributed to their children’s suicide. When facing the crowd, Zuckerberg apologized.

The CEO of X, Linda Yaccarino, said they “suspended 12.2 million accounts.”  That’s how they think they “contributed” to enforcing the safety laws. 

The TikTok CEO, Shou Chew, said, “More can be done.” 

Everyone agrees that more can be done, but the CEOs haven’t done anything. Because of the law protecting the companies from legal consequences, nothing can be done.

The parents want to shut these tech CEOs down. The parents think that their children are dead because of social media. Cyberbullying plays a big role in this situation. 

The father of fourteen-year-old Englyn, Toney Roberts had this to say to tech CEOs at the hearing: “You have blood on your hands.”

Eleven-year-old Selena Rodriguez’s mother, Tammy Rodriguez, said, “I am disgusted listening to them. All I care about is the kids are protected and the companies are held accountable.”

Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri apologized, but the parents said, “I felt like it was a half-hearted apology. And he didn’t even apologize directly” (The Guardian). 

Mission High School students had their own opinions. Alani Krejci, an 11th grader, said, “I say parental roles are more important. The parents should have the situation in their hands. It’s not really the platform’s fault. It’s more of how the kid uses it. And how the parent reacts.” 

Another 11th grader, Aimen Mohamed, said, “Banning TikTok is gonna affect people all over the world. There should just be better rules parents give to their child. Parents should take it into their own hands. And restrict certain stuff. It’s not that bad.” 

Mission Counselor Ms. Amber Wilson said, “I think tech CEOs should be held accountable for the deaths of the children. They could do a better job controlling or being aware of what is happening. I think with technology these days they could write some sort of code to catch words that refer to bullying. As well as anytime someone goes on the internet they should be aware of someone monitoring them.”

In conclusion, social media should not be for thirteen-year-olds or younger. Knowing that thirteen-year-olds are barely hitting their teen years, their brain isn’t really mature. Therefore, both sides, parents and the platform are responsible for creating the safety of these young children. Parents should support their child and monitor what they’re doing. Social media platforms need to take responsibility because they are a source of cyberbullying. Even though they’re not the ones harming, harm is being done on social media.

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Jhanelly Ramos
Jhanelly Ramos, Staff Writer
She/Her Jhanelly is a nice and quiet person, but talks a lot when you get to know her. She's always in her own little world blasting music and doing her own thing. When it gets down to writing, she can focus and block everything off and create a masterpiece!
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