Citizenship | PSHE

Students grill TikTok and Meta over risks

Should we all take a summer holiday from social media? The big platforms are still allowing a tidal wave of harmful content, some argue. But others say they can’t live without it. Caitlin did not mince her words. "I personally think social media's pretty dangerous." Only the day before, she had seen TikTok challenges which could lead to eating disorders. But the reporting process took much too long: “By the time they are taken down, the harm's already been made." Caitlin was one of a group of students from PontypriddA town in south Wales whose wealth originally derived from mining coal and iron. High School talking to executives from TikTok and MetaThe new name of the company which owns Facebook and Instagram.. The discussion took place to coincide with an online safety billCompanies will be expected to deal with dangerous posts actively, rather than just waiting for them to be reported. going through the UK parliament. This will make companies who fail to deal with dangerous posts liable to heavy fines. In the US, TikTok is being sued by the families of two young girls who died last year in a “blackout challenge”. Arriani Arroyo from MilwaukeeA city on the shore of Lake Michigan, and the biggest in the state of Wisconsin. and Lalani Walton from Texas took part in the challenge hoping that they would become TikTok stars. Their families blame TikTok’s “dangerous algorithm” for directing videos of the challenge at the girls. Other challenges have also led to death or injury. In 2020, a 15-year-old died after taking an overdose of an anti-allergy drug. Two teenagers who played a TikTok prank on a schoolmate caused him to have an epileptic fitEpilepsy affects the brain and can cause bouts of violent, uncontrollable shaking.. A challenge involving climbing on milk crates resulted in a large number of injuries.   A report by the Education Policy InstituteA research organisation which aims to improve standards in education. and The Prince's TrustA charity set up by the Prince of Wales to help young people. found that many teenagers who used social media ended up feeling unhappy about their lives. Companies like TikTok say they are doing their best to deal with the problem. But lawyers for the Arroyo and Walton families are not convinced:“TikTok prioritised greater corporate profits over the health and safety of its users and, specifically, over the health and safety of vulnerable children.” Should we all take a summer holiday from social media? TikTok shock Yes: TikTok and other social media dominate our lives to a troubling extent. They are full of dangerous posts which their owners do much too little to combat. We need to break our addiction.

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