Design it For Us Co-Chairs Emma Lembke and Zamaan Qureshi released the following statement on Arkansas’ new Social Media Safety Act, which would prohibit Arkansans under 18 from accessing social media without express parental consent:
“While we appreciate politicians’ increasing focus on the harms young people face online, bills like the ones we’re seeing become law today in Arkansas and recently in Utah – which goes even further, giving parents access to their children’s messages – are not the right model for regulating Big Tech. Instead of proactively addressing structural platform design issues, these restrictive bills put the onus on parents to police kids’ and teens’ use of social media, while absolving tech companies of their responsibility to fix their own products.
To be clear, these are not kids safety bills; they are parental surveillance bills. The truth is that these bills let Big Tech off the hook for building products that exploit and addict young people for profit by design, and force parents and young people like us to take the fall for the harms the companies have created.
As young people growing up in a fully digital-first environment, we know both the benefits and the harms of social media platforms – we live them every day. We need to establish standards that make platforms safer, not keep us off of them. We can’t expect to solve these problems by ignoring what is causing them – Big Tech – and we can’t create truly effective policy without centering the groups most impacted by that policy – us.”