Young people and social media platforms in 2021: how to start seeing the landscape
SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO / AP) – Anyone with access to a phone and a basic understanding of its use has a universe of information instantly available. Of course, not all of this information is beneficial or true.
South Dakota Senator John Thune on Tuesday asked questions of social media officials at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. He posed questions to executives at TikTok, Google (which owns YouTube) and Snapchat’s parent company: all familiar to anyone who spends time online or thinks about the online habits of someone they raise or whatever. ‘he likes.
“Senator, yes, I agree with you,” said Jennifer Stout, vice president of global public policy at parent company Snapchat, Snap Inc.
Thune believes teens should know if an algorithm is pushing them or suggesting they go in a certain direction on social media.
“I think the social media company needs to be transparent about this, and it needs to be made aware that an algorithm is influencing what content it experiences, what it sees,” Thune said.
Thune also wants users to have the ability to get content that isn’t filtered. Harry Freeman, professor at the University of South Dakota, teaches human development as well as educational psychology.
“Ultimately I think what we find is that more use correlates with higher anxiety, higher depression, and lower school performance,” Freeman said.
But he doesn’t demonize social media.
“At the same time, there are many instances where these social media sites can have a positive influence on the lives of teens,” Freeman said. “Especially adolescents who are otherwise marginalized or who have difficulty engaging.”
Kathryn Coduto, professor at South Dakota State University, teaches mass media and social media. She suggests a callback.
“Whether it’s TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, they want you to stay on their platforms, in their programs,” Coduto said. “And so, they can say they’re thinking about security or trying to update the algorithm, but they’re also companies at the end of the day that really want you to stay, and they also have research that shows a negative content, mean content, angry content, tends to generate impressions and engagement.
She has a suggestion for the parents.
“I think something parents should really do is have their own accounts or at least get familiar with the different social media platforms available,” Coduto said.