State

AG pushes TikTok, Snapchat to give parents more control

LITTLE ROCK — This week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a coalition of 44 attorneys general urged TikTok and Snapchat to give parents the ability to monitor their children’s social media usage and protect their children from online threats through parental control apps. These apps would empower parents to ensure that social media platforms are a safe space for their children.

“Parents must be able to control who their children talk to and especially what they see,” said Rutledge. “As the mother of a young daughter, I make sure that I am aware of the dangers on the internet, and I realize the importance for parents to have the ability to protect their children from those who want to do them harm online.”  

Research increasingly demonstrates the negative impact that social media can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children and teenagers. These effects range from decreased self-esteem and greater body-image dissatisfaction to increased exposure to cyberbullying and sexual predation. One app reported that in 2021 it had analyzed more than 3.4 billion messages and found:

  • 43.09% of tweens and 74.61% of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation,
  • 68.97% of tweens and 90.73% of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature,
  • 75.35% of tweens and 93.31% of teens engaged in conversations surrounding drugs/alcohol,
  • 80.82% of tweens and 94.50% of teens expressed or experienced violent subject matter/thoughts, and
  • 72.09% of tweens and 85.00% of teens experienced bullying as a bully, victim, or witness. 

Rutledge was joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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