As concerns about social media’s harmful effects on teens continue to rise, platforms from Snapchat to TikTok to Instagram are bolting on new features they say will make their services safer and more age appropriate. But the changes rarely address the elephant in the the room — the algorithms pushing endless content that can drag anyone, not just teens, into harmful rabbit holes.
The tools do offer some help, such as blocking strangers from messaging kids. But they also share some deeper flaws, starting with the fact that teenagers can get around limits if they lie about their age. The platforms also place the burden of enforcement on parents. And they do little or nothing to screen for inappropriate and harmful material served up by algorithms that can affect teens’ mental and physical well-being.
“These platforms know that their algorithms can sometimes be amplifying harmful content, and they’re not taking steps to stop that,” said Irene Ly, privacy counsel at the nonprofit Common Sense Media. The more teens keep scrolling, the more engaged they get — and the more engaged they are, the more profitable they are to the platforms, she said. “I don’t think they have too much incentive to be changing that.”
Take, for instance, Snapchat, which on Tuesday introduced new parental controls in what it calls the “Family Center” — a tool that lets parents see who their teens are messaging, though not the content of the messages themselves. One catch: both parents and their children have to opt into to the service.
Nona Farahnik Yadegar, Snap’s director of platform policy and social impact, likens it to parents wanting to know who their kids are going out with.
If kids are headed out to a friend’s house or are meeting up at the mall, she said, parents will typically ask, “Hey, who are you going to meet up with? How do you know them?” The new tool, she said, aims to give parents “the insight they really want to have in order to have these conversations with their teen while preserving teen privacy and autonomy.”
These conversations, experts agree, are important. In an ideal world, parents would regularly sit down with their kids and have honest talks about social media and the dangers and pitfalls of the online world.
But many kids use a bewildering variety of platforms, all of which are constantly evolving — and that stacks the odds against parents expected to master and monitor the controls on multiple platforms, said Josh Golin, executive director of children’s digital advocacy group Fairplay.
“Far better to require platforms to make their platforms safer by design and default instead of increasing the workload on already overburdened parents,” he said.
The new controls, Golin said, also fail to address a myriad of existing problems with Snapchat. These range from kids misrepresenting their ages to “compulsive use” encouraged by the app’s Snapstreak feature to cyberbullying made easier by the disappearing messages that still serve as Snapchat’s claim to fame.
Farahnik Yadegar said Snapchat has “strong measures” to deter kids from falsely claiming to be over 13. Those caught lying about their age have their account immediately deleted, she said. Teens who are over 13 but pretend to be even older get one chance to correct their age.
Detecting such lies isn’t foolproof, but the platforms have several ways to get at the truth. For instance, if a user’s friends are mostly in their early teens, it’s likely that the user is also a teenager, even if they said they were born in 1968 when they signed up. Companies use artificial intelligence to look for age mismatches. A person’s interests might also reveal their real age. And, Farahnik Yadegar pointed out, parents might also find out their kids were fibbing about their birth date if they try to turn on parental controls but find their teens ineligible.
Child safety and teen mental health are front and center in both Democratic and Republicans critiques of tech companies. States, which have been much more aggressive about regulating technology companies than the federal government, are also turning their attention to the matter. In March, several state attorneys general launched a nationwide investigation into TikTok and its possible harmful effects on young users’ mental health.
TikTok is the most popular social app U.S. teenagers use, according to a new report out Wednesday from the Pew Research Center, which found that 67% say they use the Chinese-owned video sharing platform. The company has said that it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features, such as direct messaging, are not available to younger users. It says features such as a screen-time management tool help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app and what they see. But critics note such controls are leaky at best.
“It’s really easy for kids to try to get past these these features and just go off on their own,” said Ly of Common Sense Media.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook parent Meta, is the second most popular app with teens, Pew found, with 62% saying they use it, followed by Snapchat with 59%. Not surprisingly, only 32% of teens reported ever having used Facebook, down from 71% in 2014 and 2015, according to the report.
Last fall, former Facebook employee-turned whistleblower Frances Haugen exposed internal research from the company concluding that the social network’s attention-seeking algorithms contributed to mental health and emotional problems among Instagram-using teens, especially girls. That revelation led to some changes; Meta, for instance, scrapped plans for an Instagram version aimed at kids under 13. The company has also introduced new parental control and teen well-being features, such as nudging teens to take a break if they scroll for too long.
Such solutions, Ly said, are “sort of getting at the problem, but basically going around it and not getting to the root cause of it.”
Communications and Social Media Specialist – Quill & Quire
Orca Book Publishers
Published: September 23, 2022
Orca Book Publishers is a successful, growing, independent Canadian children’s book publisher. With over 1200 active titles in print and digital formats and 90 new titles/year, we have a vibrant, well-respected publishing program. We are looking for a professional, motivated person to join our marketing team. The ideal candidate will bring a passion for books, strong organizational skills and a willingness to work with an amazing team. Our preference is for someone who can work in in our office in Victoria, BC, although we will consider an applicant from outside of Victoria.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Overview: Promote Orca titles, authors and brand online through a cohesive and organized presence across newsletters, social media platforms and blog. Create and manage campaigns collaboratively with the marketing and sales teams, including writing online and print copy for a variety of audiences.
- Manage a comprehensive newsletter schedule with multiple content creators and audiences, such as authors, booksellers, teachers, librarians and wholesalers.
- Write and lay out newsletter content in collaboration with the marketing and sales teams. Deploy and track newsletters according to the schedule.
- Create and schedule for Orca’s social media accounts, including maintaining a calendar of all posts and ongoing campaigns.
- Monitor social media channels to engage with the public and respond to questions. Support our authors’ social media presences and promote their events.
- Seek out ways to optimize our online engagement via creative content, targeted ads and industry partnerships. Administer a monthly social media advertising budget. Build and maintain a list of influencer contacts.
- Provide regular reporting and analysis on social media and newsletter campaigns.
- Work with the design team to create assets for newsletters, social media and other marketing promotional materials.
- Craft and revise press releases, pitches, letters, taglines and other marketing copy as needed, including working on metadata and book cover copy.
- Maintain a list of media contacts and disseminate press releases.
- Oversee the Orca blog: create content, write posts, interview authors and promote on social media.
- Produce and edit promotional video content: author interviews, book trailers and other videos as needed. Manage Orca’s YouTube channel.
- Attend and assist in the execution of local Orca events.
- Background and education in Writing, Communications, English, Journalism, Marketing and/or Publishing. Publicity experience is an asset.
- Exceptional writing skills; ability to modify writing tone to the audience. Copyediting and proofreading skills are an asset.
- Expert knowledge of contemporary social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Ability to understand the different audiences for each. Experience with social media advertising is a plus.
- Highly efficient and organized; proven leadership and project-tracking skills along with the ability to multi-task and prioritize work across many projects at once.
- Keen interest in the Canadian children’s book publishing industry.
- Ability to work independently, with excellent time-management skills and attention to detail.
- Ability to collaborate with a team and contribute to a supportive environment.
- Proficiency in MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, Google Drive and other general office software.
- Experience with project management software like Asana, social media management software like Hootsuite, or email programs like Constant Contact or MailChimp is an asset.
- Understanding of basic design principles with an eye for beautiful, effective and eye-catching design. Ability to create visual content for social media using software like Canva is an asset.
- Enjoy working with people and other animals in an office environment.
Orca Book Publishers is an inclusive employer with a passion for books that matter. We are strongly committed to diversity within our community and especially welcome applicants who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.
We are also committed to ensuring that young readers see themselves reflected in the books they read. We aim to produce books that illuminate the experiences of people of all ethnicities, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ+. We have a particular interest in publishing books that celebrate the lives of Indigenous people. Our fiction includes characters from diverse backgrounds and unique family structures, and our global nonfiction celebrates the variety of ways people live and educates readers about important issues. Providing young people with exposure to diversity and the opportunity for social change through reading creates a more compassionate world. We encourage applicants to learn more about us at www.orcabook.com.
We strive to make our recruitment, assessment and selection processes as accessible as possible. If you require any accommodations at any point during the application and hiring process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. We offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
Please send resume and cover letter by October 7, 2022, to email@example.com. We thank all who apply; only those candidates who are shortlisted will be contacted.
Which team may surprise people in the NCHC, key takeaways from media day, key conference players to watch – The Rink Live
Now that the dust has settled from NCHC Media Day, The Rink Live takes an in depth look at the conference with its podcast with reporters Matt Wellens, Brad Schlossman, Jess Myers, Mick Hatten and Joe Paisley. Wellens covers Minnesota Duluth hockey, Schlossman covers the University of North Dakota, Paisley covers Colorado College and Myers interviewed two representatives from every NCHC team at media day. The group covered a variety of topics including their big takeaways from media day, which team may surprise some people in the conference race, key players throughout the league and more on this episode of The Rink Live podcast.
Biggest takeaways from Media Day:
2:30 Mick Hatten: The big turnover in personnel within the league
3:40 Brad Schlossman: Key items in commissioner Heather Weems’ address to the media
5:00 Matt Wellens: Key items in commissioner Heather Weems’ address to the media, how the conference looked at other online streaming platforms
7:10 Jess Myers: How financially sound the conference is and why, Brad on how the NCHC absorbed the pandemic
10:10 Joe Paisley: The benefits of being a single-sport league, one year of operating budget in the bank
Biggest impact players on the team you cover:
12:15 Brad Schlossman: North Dakota’s Riese Gaber
13:35 Joe Paisley: Colorado College’s Kaidan Mbereko, Brett Chorske, Gleb Veremyev, Cade Ahrenholz and Hunter McKown
15:24 Mick Hatten: SCSU’s top line of Jami Krannila, Zach Okabe and Veeti Miettinen, D Jack Peart
17:25 Matt Wellens: UMD’s Blake Biondi, Dominic James, Derek Daschke
20:15 Miami’s good power play in a tough season in 2021-22
22:25 Jess Myers transfers: North Dakota goalie Drew DeRidder, Denver forward Tristan Broz
24:10 Mick Hatten: Western Michigan F Jack Perbix
25:15 Brad Schlossman: Omaha’s Tyler Weiss, Joaquim Lemay, Jacob Guevin; Western Michigan’s Carter Berger, Zak Galambos
Brad Schlossman Memorial Question: Who will be this season’s NCHC surprise team?
28:00 Why St. Cloud State is a team to watch
35:50 Why Colorado College is a team to watch
3 Burning questions for Milwaukee Bucks media day – Behind the Buck Pass
It has been reported by Marc Stein that the Milwaukee Bucks will hold their media day this Sunday, one day after the Milwaukee Bucks are allowed to begin training camp to begin their preparations for their games in Abu Dhabi against the Atlanta Hawks. Sunday may be the day we get a formal introduction of DeMarre Carroll to the coaching staff.
We have some questions that we hope can be answered by Jon Horst, Mike Budenholzer and potentially the players involved about the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season.
Burning questions for Milwaukee Bucks media day: What is the plan with Jordan Nwora?
We looked at this situation recently and it is very confusing wondering why there hasn’t been any action on this front. Why hasn’t there been a report on whether or not Jordan Nwora will accept his qualifying offer, an offer that was extended to him months ago?
This will certainly be a question that can only be answered by General Manager Jon Horst or by Jordan Nwora himself. However, with October 1st being just over a week away and that being the deadline (unless the Bucks file for an extension) for the qualifying offer the Milwaukee Bucks extended to Nwora to expire, we should expect answers soon.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been active in making calls on players potentially available for trade, having been confirmed to have checked in on Kevin Durant and Jordan Clarkson. While neither of those players have been traded, having a $2 million salary available to add to a deal could certainly help balance out salaries. Asking Jon Horst about the Bucks being active in any ongoing trade talks could also certainly be another burning question for Sunday.
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