NY Limits Kids’ Social Media Algorithms, iPhones Getting AI, and Slop is the New Spam

Words by
Jackie Baucom

JUN 13, 2024

NY Limits Kids’ Social Media Algorithms, iPhones Getting AI, and Slop is the New Spam

Among this week’s headlines are stories on the ever-evolving AI race, major loopholes in Apple’s parental controls, and the growing list of states fighting to protect kids from social media. Let’s dive in!

Parents’ Screen Use Shapes Teen Behavior

A study of over 10,000 teens and their parents reveals that parental screen use significantly influences children’s screen habits.

Effective strategies to reduce screen use include keeping mealtimes and bedtimes screen-free, setting consistent family guidelines together with the kids, and avoiding using screens as rewards or punishments.

Parents are key when it comes to limiting screen time for kids, study finds | NPR

NY Passes Bill to Stop Social Media Algorithms From Targeting Children

New York’s Legislature passed a bill allowing parents to block algorithm-suggested social media posts for children. 

The bill, which is facing tech industry pushback, requires platforms to only show content from followed accounts and restricts notifications at night without parental consent.

It is expected that New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, will sign it into law.

New York moves to ban ‘addictive’ social media feeds for kids | AP News

AI Tools Found Secretly Training on Children’s Images

A new report reveals that AI models have been secretly trained using images of real children without permission.

Shockingly, over 170 images and personal details from public blogs and YouTube videos were included in an AI training dataset.

The breach adds another example underscoring the need for stronger data protection to safeguard children’s online privacy.

AI Tools Are Secretly Training on Real Images of Children | WIRED

Apple and OpenAI Are Teaming Up

At its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced its first generative AI features for iPhone, including personalized Genmoji and an enhanced Siri.

Apple emphasized privacy and security in the partnership with OpenAI that will bring these features to millions of iPhone users.

The update introduces various iOS 18 features, such as enhanced text messaging and app privacy controls, alongside updates for other products.

Everything Apple announced at its big AI event | CNN

Apple’s Parental Controls Fail to Block Explicit Content

Researchers found that parental controls on Apple devices, like Screen Time, fail to block inappropriate content despite settings designed to do so.

Security researchers discovered a loophole enabling access to restricted sites with a specific string in Safari.

Apple has promised to fix it but hasn’t yet, despite being aware of the bug for three years, which highlights ongoing issues with its parental-control software.

How Broken Are Apple’s Parental Controls? It Took 3 Years to Fix an X-Rated Loophole | The Wall Street Journal 

TikTok Rolls Out Image Search

TikTok is testing image search in TikTok Shop, where users can snap or upload photos to find similar products.

With over 15 million sellers worldwide (and despite a potential U.S. ban), TikTok is eyeing e-commerce growth to keep users engaged and drive up revenue. 

TikTok comes for Google as it quietly rolls out image search capabilities in TikTok Shop | Tech Crunch

AI’s Substandard Online Content is Slop

The term “slop” is being used to describe low-quality AI-generated content in online platforms like social media and search results.

Google’s integration of AI in search responses has faced criticism, especially from news outlets who saw a decline in online viewership due to an increased reliance on AI-generated responses and data.

Despite initial dips, overall web traffic to over major sites has increased, indicating a shift towards normalizing AI-generated content.

First Came ‘Spam.’ Now, With A.I., We’ve Got ‘Slop’ | The New York Times

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