Great post! It immediately reminded me of the late Neil Postman and his brilliant book "Technopoly" – published 30 years ago. Postman's insightful predictions about the problems we face today make his work all the more relevant. One passage from "Technopoly" particularly resonates:

"Technological change is neither additive nor subtractive. It is ecological. I mean 'ecological' in the same sense as the word is used by environmental scientists. One significant change generates total change. If you remove the caterpillars from a given habitat, you are not left with the same environment minus caterpillars: you have a new environment, and you have reconstituted the conditions of survival; the same is true if you add caterpillars to an environment that has had none. This is how the ecology of media works as well. A new technology does not add or subtract something. It changes everything."

It's no surprise that teenagers and young adults are like canaries in the coalmine – they are growing up in a brave new technological world, where everything has changed.

Given the rapid advancements in technology and shifting social norms, the significance of media literacy and digital literacy cannot be emphasized enough. These skills are absolutely crucial in today's world.

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I don't see how legislation can stop kids from using social media platforms without it being the complete death of anonymity on social media and I'm not convinced that's a worthwhile tradeoff. I'm very sympathetic to the viewpoint that social media is actually bad for all of us, and that we shouldn't have to trust kids to somehow be mature enough to police their own online interactions, especially when many adults can't.

But, as an example, the Utah law is being widely criticized for requiring platforms to give parents access to their children's accounts, which is both horrific and is going to further isolate marginalized kids, but also extremely difficult to enforce or implement. I couldn't find any articles on a quick search that actually talked about how these social media companies would even implement this required password sharing or for that matter, how they planned to enforce consistent age verification. It makes me think these laws are just political showboating or will end up like GDPR, which many, many companies don't fully enforce, because it's very technically difficult to do so. There is a real problem with politicians creating laws without even a basic understanding of how technologies work or without thinking through the additional issues such requirements will create.

I'm not sure daily time limits are my favorite alternative solution to outright stopping kids or putting the power in the hands of parents, mostly because I think those are prone to people trying to create workarounds, but I do think more aggressive reminders of time spent on platforms as well as banning features like 'autoplay next video' and 'endless scroll' could be specific, implementable remedies, as well as requiring increased content moderation (which is a whole can of worms technically speaking). The best part about these solutions is they don't require the platform to know someone's age to be implemented and therefore preserve anonymity. And honestly, we could all benefit from social media being less addicting, not just kids.

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