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Parents hope for change amidst Social Media CEO testifying over kids online safety

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At the US Capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers grilled social media CEO from Discord, Meta, TikTok, Snapchat, and X, formerly known as Twitter.

Senators on Capitol Hill, from both political parties, are seeking to restrict the exploitation of children on social media.

The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing to hold social media executives accountable and for legal changes to occur.

Locally one parent we spoke to, Marian Anderson, expressed her belief that the problem needs more than legal help.

Social media continues to grow, and because of that, more and more children are using the apps daily, finding material not suitable for them. Anderson said that is a scary reality she has come to live with.

She is a parent fighting this battle with her children for nearly a decade. She’s not alone and feels that lawmakers haven’t done enough to help parents protect their children from the dangers of social media. She says it leaves her feeling like a bad parent sometimes.

Lawmakers are proposing changes such as the Kids Online Safety Act and creating a way for parents and others to hold social media companies liable for their shortcomings.

A legal expert we spoke to says the challenge involves First Amendment rights.

“Anytime you are seeing content moderation, which is really being proposed here, you are going to have First Amendment challenges. With that being said, it goes back to the beginning of the situation is how can we do this without overstepping,” said Ryan McCall, Sr. Associate at Tully Rinckey.

Anderson hopes something will be done but thinks the internet is too big to control at this point.

Snapchat and X’s CEO both agreed to support the Kids Online Safety Act, while Meta, TikTok, and Discord all mentioned that the bill would be somewhat helpful but think it conflicts with the First Amendment and free speech.

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