Violence, bullying, suicide: It’s time to fight drunk driving and other childhood digital addictions

America’s children are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis, caused in large part by the amount of time they spend online every day.

The numbers are scary: Anxiety and depression ratio In recent years, the teen suicide rate has increased by 50%, and in the past 10 years, the teen suicide rate has increased by 29%.

Today, suicide is the second leading cause of death among children aged 10 to 14, killing more people than all cancers combined.

The Pew Research Center found that not only do 95% of teenagers use social media, but a third of them say they use social media “almost all the time.” Tatiana Gradsky – stock.adobe.com

current country Debate over potential TikTok ban Drawing attention to the way social media and smartphones dominate children’s lives.

Not only do up to 95% of teenagers use social media, but pew research center found that a third of them reported using it “almost constantly.”

These platforms expose them to excessive violence, extremism, bullying, and impossible beauty standards that lay the foundation for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and even suicidal ideation.

Clearly, profits are more important to social media companies than the well-being of our children.

The more time people spend scrolling, The more money these companies makethey have been fighting teeth and nails Keep it that way.

As a journalist, a media ecologist, and most importantly, a mother, I believe now is the time for parents to create a grassroots movement ready to step up and fight back against this crisis.

That’s why I founded Mothers Against Media Addiction (MAMA)a way for moms, dads, and anyone who cares about creating a world where real-life experiences are at the heart of a healthy childhood.

At MAMA, our members urge politicians to enact policies that provide the basic online protections our children desperately need.

At the federal level, this includes Children’s Internet Safety Act (KOSA), which has a staggering 66 bipartisan Senate co-sponsors and would require social media companies to enable the strongest security settings by default.

Another bill, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) would expand online privacy protections for teenagers and limit the ability of big tech companies to reach minors through targeted advertising.

We also need action from state legislators.

This includes implementing safeguards such as Age Appropriate Design Specifications (AADC)which prevents companies from collecting and selling children’s data.

In New York, the Legislature is currently considering two Well designed bill Also addresses addictive algorithms and data privacy concerns.

In addition to putting these safeguards in place, we must take cell phones out of school immediately.

Cell phones in classrooms distract students and displace necessary face-to-face social interaction. If we want children to succeed, we must ensure that schools promote face-to-face interaction and physically engaging forms of learning, such as handwriting and reading from books.

Encouragingly, several states are Pass or advance legislation Create a phone-free school. Other states should follow suit.

Despite the clear dangers of social media, protesters in Washington, D.C. earlier this month expressed support for the Chinese platform TikTok. Michael Brockstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock
Decades ago, MADD parents and family members made drinking and driving the last thing any teenager wanted to do.

Unfortunately, many educators and parents still do not fully realize serious injury Unlimited screen time. Now is the time for them to do so.

We need a national education movement to help spread the word about the profound and often unacknowledged role that media and technology play in shaping children’s social, emotional, and academic health.

That’s why MAMA is held Virtual Event Series Experts can help you emerge from this crisis.

At MAMA, we model our work on Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Through the power of education, advocacy and parent organizations, MADD has changed the way we think about drunk driving, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of victims since 1980.

MAMA is determined to have a similar impact on an equally dangerous drug: the intoxicating, addictive, life-threatening online media network.

(LR) Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (D-WI) co-sponsored a ban on TikTok. Getty Images

Recently, dozens of MAMA members and allies Rally outside Meta offices In New York, demand that social media companies and legislators put the well-being of our children over technology.

At that rally, we were moved by the story of elementary school teacher Mary Rodee, whose 15-year-old son, Riley Basford, committed suicide after becoming the victim of a sextortion scheme on Facebook.

Mary’s heartbreaking loss is the impetus for our work.

The addictive algorithm is powerful, and tech companies have deep pockets on influential connections.

But at the end of the day, nothing—no amount of money in the world—can compete with the love a parent has for their child.

Together, we should ensure that our children live in a world where technology serves humanity, not the other way around.

Julie Scelfo is the company’s founder and CEO Mothers Against Media Addiction (Mother).

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