“I’m here to speak on behalf of my generation for the harm we’ve experienced,” Zamaan Qureshi, co-chair of the advocacy organization Design It For Us, told lawmakers Tuesday. “Some of our generation have developed depression, eating disorders and attempted or taken their life due to social media.”
Among the panelists are Matthew Bergman, Founding Attorney of Social Media Victims Law Center, Zamaan Qureshi, Co-Chair of Design it for Us, Camille Carlton, Senior Policy & Communications Manager for Center for Humane Technology and Robert Weil, Director of Research, Policy, and Field Services, Educational Issues for American Federation of Teachers.
Qureshi and a coalition of students formed Design It For Us, an advocacy group intended to bring the perspectives of young people to the forefront of the debate about online safety. They are part of a growing constellation of youth advocacy and activist organizations demanding a say as officials consider new rules to govern kids’ activity online.
Bivens-Hernandez along with ParentsTogether, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Psychological Association, Fairplay and Design It For Us are calling on social media companies to take action.
Emma Lembke says it was a major surprise that her tech reform work earned a phone call from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“I had one of the craziest surprise calls of my life with the Duke and Duchess,” Lembke said creator of Design It for Us. “Harry and Meghan called me to say that I was a grant recipient of the Responsible Youth Tech Fund, that is awarding over $2 million to youth groups who are seeking to better understand for a greater tech future.”
The snippet showed Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, connecting with Tazin Khan Norelius of Cyber Collective, Trisha Prabhu of ReThink Citizens, Emma Lembke of Design It For Us and Log Off, Sam Hiner of the Young People’s Alliance Education Fund and Sneha Revanur of Encode Justice. They thanked the young leaders for driving change that will benefit the next generation — including their son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 2.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have surprised young leaders in the tech world with congratulatory phone calls. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle personally called several recipients of the first-ever Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund grants, in a video released on Wednesday 2 August.
“It was a complete surprise. I had no idea I would be speaking with them,” Emma Lembke, the cochair of internet safety advocacy organization Design It For Us, told Vanity Fair. “The duke and the duchess, and all of their work, have been pivotal in moving so many social issues forward and bringing visibility to a lot of important areas, and specifically responsible tech.”
President Biden backed the legislation during an address on mental health on Tuesday, urging the Senate to “pass it, pass it, pass it, pass it, pass it.” Biden previously called for legislation protecting children online in his State of the Union address. The bills have garnered the support of a number of children’s safety groups including FairPlay, Design it For Us and Common Sense Media.
The bill has a multitude of co-sponsors as well as the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and President Joe Biden. Schumer’s staff told the youth advocacy group Design It For Us that the Kids Online Safety Act was “still very much a priority,” according to Axios. Biden also voiced support for legislation protecting children on Wednesday.