Joe Biden’s Stupidity to Control How Kids Use Technology

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for more regulation of technology platforms, especially young users. In particular, Biden has called for a ban on advertising targeted at children.

In recent years, calls for technology regulation to protect children and teens have grown from policymakers on both sides of the aisle at both the state and federal levels. But when it comes to determining the best way to help kids and teens use the Internet, parents (or other trusted adults in a young person’s life) should make the decision, not the government.

Many people, including policy makers, are legitimately concerned about the rising rates of mental health problems among teenagers and young adults today In search of a solution to a difficult problem, some blame the new, such as the increased use of social media.

But currently available data do not clearly support a general relationship Between social media use and mental health problems. The one-size-fits-all approach adopted by the government will not only fail to address any alleged problems, but will have serious consequences for both youth and parents.

Despite concerns about the negative impact of social media on young people, there are also incredibly positive examples of how young people have used social media. whether it Positive body image that improves body satisfactionThe ability to form communities around shared interests like video games or basketball, or young people sharing their voices and explaining what it’s like to be a teenager today, online platforms and social media can be extremely beneficial to today’s digital natives.

Policy is a poor tool for addressing nuance, and many proposals may result in limiting beneficial or benign uses of technology.

For example, calls to regulate “mental health content” recommendations for teenagers would likely ban positive recovery content for those who are struggling. Other proposals could prevent young people from accessing important information about topics deemed sensitive or make things like college recruiting more difficult by excluding targeted ads. In general, such proposals treat all online use by young people equally, with extra attention to preventing potential negative consequences.

Biden’s call Tuesday for a ban on advertising targeted at young people online is the latest example of politicians demonizing the use of data and algorithms without fully understanding the options and consequences.

Banning targeted advertising may result in more generic ads that are less appropriate for the age group accessing a website. Banning ads altogether or making it harder to offer ad services would likely shift the costs to consumers, which could drive up the price of kid-friendly apps in the process. In both cases, children, teenagers and parents may be concerned about the advertisements they may encounter while struggling with less and more expensive options.

It’s a little ironic that the State of the Union address was given.”Safer Internet DayThe day highlights a range of tools and resources available to help parents and youth navigate their online experience. The right tools can vary from family to family and even from child to child based on specific needs

In some cases, parents may want to use filters to prevent their children or teens from accessing certain content that goes against their values. In other cases, parents may trust their child but want to set limits on device use.

An education- and conversation-based approach can better prepare children to navigate the Internet independently as adults and can be an opportunity to pass on digital and media literacy skills. This will be especially true as the first generation of digital-native millennials begins to have children.

The State of the Union highlighted the fear of children and teenagers returning online As a society, We’ve seen it before—not only around the Internet, but also around other media like video games and comic books. Rather than empowering governments to intervene out of fear, we should look more holistically at young people’s experiences online. And we should empower both parents and members of the next generation to make intelligent choices around technology.