29 March 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is again joining his counterparts across the country in calling for more to be done to protect children from the harms linked to social media.
On Tuesday, Ellison’s office said that he joined more than 40 other attorneys general in signing a letter asking that TikTok and Snapchat provide more parental controls on their platforms, thereby allowing parents to monitor their children’s social media usage and messages.
“Our children are unable on their own to navigate the real and potential harms of social media usage — and these harms can be very serious, up to and including self-harm,” Ellison said, in a statement. “I’ve joined this bipartisan coalition because it is within the power of these companies to conform to widespread industry practice and give parents greater ability to protect their children from harm.”
While the attorneys general noted that these platforms do moderate some content, they argued that TikTok and Snapchat don’t do enough to protect children, particularly in regards to direct messages, where they can be subject to bullying, threats and messages from sexual predators. The coalition said that other platforms have notifications in place that shave alerted parents to bullying and self-harm situations.
The attorneys general say that parent controls on TikTok and Snapchat, the social media platforms most popular with teens, have “the potential to save lives and prevent harm to our youth.”
This is the latest example of Ellison joining efforts to regulate how social media companies engage and promote their products to children and teenagers.
Earlier this year, Ellison joined a nationwide investigation into how TikTok promotes its platform to children and young adults. Last year, he joined other leaders in calling for Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children 13 and younger, and he also joined other attorneys general in investigating Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, about promoting Instagram to children.