Today’s kids spend most of their time glued to the screen, either watching their favorite shows, playing games or having online conversations with their friends. A survey conducted by Common Sense indicates that 98% of kids of ages below eight years can access tablets or smartphones at home. Most 11-year-olds own a smartphone and out of the 24 hours, 5 hours is consumed by screen time. The reality is, some applications and websites that children have access to are harmful. Although the internet is useful in our lives, we cannot ignore the risks it exposes our kids.
A lot of inappropriate content finds its way to the children thanks to features like push alerts and auto-play capabilities in videos that entice users into spending a lot of their time on their devices. Therefore, advocates for digital safety are pushing for a bill that will require developers of websites and apps to avoid using blandish tactics on users below the age of 16. Although parents have the responsibility of protecting their children, tech companies should use design features that are friendly to kids. The bill will abolish some of the harmful but typical design features in websites and apps for young teens and children. The proponents of the bill argue that design features are exploitative to the development of children.
Some design features lead to a lack of adequate impulse control and render kids vulnerable to positive reinforcement. If online platforms change their algorithms for the way content is promoted and suggested, children, will be safe from violent, sexual and other inappropriate content. The recommendations from the bill only affect the apps and websites used by children.
The Role of Parents in Protecting the Kids
It is the parents’ responsibility to monitor what their kids are viewing and how much time they spend on their gadgets. You must restrict access to specific sites to protect your children from exposure to harmful vices online. Raising tech-savvy generation does not mean giving children the freedom to do as they please.
Society is racing against the clock in terms of practicing healthy internet practices among children. Therefore, taking responsibility for what children consume goes a long way in ensuring that the future generation comprises of healthy and responsible individuals. For a long time, protecting children against harmful content has not been a priority, so this bill will go a long way in ensuring that kids are safe.