The Movement to Protect Children from Media Structures is Picking Up Steam

Facebook and Google have sharply restricted the ways that advertisers can tailor messages to minors on their sites. In a video from The New York Times Opinion section, journalists made the case that Congress should copy the British regulations. Children’s advocates are mostly over the moon about it. lawmakers are debating updated laws to protect kids online and scolding the head of Instagram, as they did on Wednesday, the horse has partly left the barn. “I think they can see the writing on the wall,” Sonia Livingstone, a professor at the London School of Economics who studies children’s digital rights, told Wired this year. law for comprehensive online child protection, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. “Why not here?” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, asked at Wednesday’s hearing Involving the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri in his and Meta’s plan to create Instagram for Kids while referencing the British code. Some of the guidelines are vague, partly by design, and that’s one reason the technology industry said it fought the British code. To comply with the British code, Facebook, Google and other companies could have changed features only for kids who live in that country. The British regulations are effectively here already, but without the force of U.S. Among other guidelines, the code requires websites and apps to turn on the highest possible privacy settings by default for people under 18, and to turn off features that track children’s locations. The idea behind the Children’s Code is that companies must build products with the best interests of children in mind, and it makes companies accountable to protect them. The regulations don’t take all control and responsibility from parents and caregivers, but they are a backstop for families. As in the examples above, the British regulations – formally called the Age-Appropriate Design Code or the Children’s Code – are also changing the internet experience for kids and families in the U.S. Although the breaking up tech companies seems to still be a far-off hope to protect children from damaging internet structure seems to be picking up momentum

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