Carr Joins Multistate Coalition Urging TikTok, Snapchat to Strengthen Parental Controls
ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr has joined a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general to urge TikTok and Snapchat to strengthen parental controls by providing parents with the ability to monitor their children’s social media usage and ultimately protect them from online threats.
“In today’s online environment, children are at a greater risk of encountering harmful content and predatory users,” said Carr. “We know this is a concern for Georgia families, and we stand with them in supporting the development and implementation of strong parental controls meant to keep kids safe. While some children might not understand the risks associated with heightened social media use, providing parents with the tools to protect their loved ones can help to prevent any dangerous or unintended consequences.”
Research increasingly demonstrates the negative impact that social media can have on the physical, emotional and mental well-being of children and teenagers. This can include decreased self-esteem and greater body-image dissatisfaction to increased exposure to cyberbullying and sexual predation. One app reported that in 2021, it analyzed more than 3.4 billion messages and found:
- 43.09 percent of tweens and 74.61 percent of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation;
- 68.97 percent of tweens and 90.73 percent of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature;
- 75.35 percent of tweens and 93.31 percent of teens engaged in conversations surrounding drugs/alcohol;
- 80.82 percent of tweens and 94.50 percent of teens expressed or experienced violent subject matter/thoughts; and
- 72.09 percent of tweens and 85.00 percent of teens experienced bullying as a bully, victim or witness.
In a letter sent to TikTok and Snapchat, the coalition writes, “Parental control apps can alert parents or schools to messages and posts on your platforms that have the potential to be harmful and dangerous. Apps can also alert parents if their child manifests a desire for self-harm or suicide. On other platforms where these apps are allowed to operate appropriately parents have received notifications of millions of instances of severe bullying and hundreds of thousands of self-harm situations, showing that these apps have the potential to save lives and prevent harm to our youth.”
Social media platforms already engage in some content moderation and operate under some community guidelines, but these are not always sufficient to protect children and teenagers who are particularly vulnerable to online threats, especially with regard to direct messaging. Parental control apps empower parents to be full partners with the platforms to maintain a safe space online for their children.
Carr was joined in signing the letter by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, 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.
Access a copy of the letter .