Social Media Sites TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube Called On By Senate To Hearing On Young User Protection

The US Senate is once again targeting social media; this time, they’re being questioned about the actions they’re doing to protect young users.

Children using gadgets

According to CNET, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube have been summoned for a hearing on how social media companies can protect their young users. The hearing is set on October 26th.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Commerce Consumer Protection subcommittee, claims that Big Tech is facing a “day of reckoning” akin to what Big Tobacco experienced in the past.

This session comes only days after Facebook, another social media behemoth, was summoned for interrogation after former employee Frances Haugen spoke about the company’s “harmful” impact on society.

TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube have all stated that they will send representatives.

YouTube, for example, will send Leslie Miller, VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy, while TikTok will send Michael Beckerman, VP of Public Policy for the Americas.

Social Media And Their Perceived Negative Effects On Kids’ Safety

According to Forbes, the upcoming hearing will focus on understanding how these prominent social media platforms affect children as a whole, as well as how the corporations themselves can keep their young users safe.

Too much reliance on these networks, for example, can have a negative impact on children’s mental health. However, there have been so many research pointing to the possible detrimental effects of excessive social media use on children that it deserves its own article.

What Are These Social Media Companies Doing To Address This?

Many social media firms appear to be conscious of the power and influence they have over their young users, and they have implemented a variety of safeguards to protect them.

Social media on phone

TikTok, for example, which boasts the most watch time per user (even higher than YouTube), has been purposefully reducing their adolescent customers’ time on the app with a new function.

They’re doing this by deactivating TikTok notifications late at night, so teens won’t be tempted to check their smartphones even when they’re supposed to be sleeping, according to CNN.

Accounts belonging to teenagers aged 13 to 15 will no longer receive alerts after 9 p.m., while accounts belonging to teenagers aged 16 to 17 will have their notifications disabled an hour later, at 10 p.m.

Snapchat, on the other hand, has added a host of safety precautions for its young users. The app now includes a Parental Control feature that can be activated in a few simple steps, according to SecureTeen.

There’s Still A Lot Of Work To Do

Technology will continue to play an important role in the lives of today’s children, and this is not going to change anytime soon. However, it is not just the responsibility of Big Tech to keep their young users secure.

This responsibility falls mainly on parents, who must keep a watchful check on their children’s digital actions and make them understand that whatever they do online has consequences.