More Social Media Lawsuits, “Spicy” Books On TikTok, and Why Don’t Kids Hang Out Anymore? 

Words by
Jake Cutler

FEB 22, 2024

More Social Media Lawsuits, “Spicy” Books On TikTok, and Why Don’t Kids Hang Out Anymore? 

A new week, a new batch of headlines. The major trend is the battle between social media and state/federal leaders. No significant legislation has been made official but the increasing number of lawsuits and proposals signals a real push back on the harm being caused to kids.

Social Media Sued for Suicide

A Utah couple are suing TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, attributing the suicide of their 14-year-old son to the harmful content he accessed on these platforms.

The couple claims that the videos their son saved from these sites were not only depressing but actively encouraged him to end his life: “When we looked at what was on his phone, and what TikTok was feeding Dexton,” his father said, “it was pure poison.”

While a number of social media lawsuits have made headlines lately, this story serves as a reminder that the damage is deeply personal.

KUTV | ‘It’s made our life pure hell’: Utah couple sues social media companies over son’s death

Americans Suddenly Stopped Hanging Out

According to data from a number of sources, Americans today are spending more time on their own than at any other time before.

There are likely numerous contributors to the trend but many experts point to smartphones as a main culprit.

The implications aren’t good and especially among teenagers where rates of depression and other mental health concerns are continually rising.

The Atlantic | Why Americans Suddenly Stopped Hanging Out

Big Tech Regulation Coming Soon?

The U.S. Senate is set to pass the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a significant piece of tech regulation aimed at protecting children online. 

The act would obligate digital platforms to exercise care in feature design to prevent harms such as bullying and depression, and to enable privacy and safety settings by default for younger users. 

Despite having more than 60 backers in the Senate, KOSA still faces challenges in the House due to disputes over prioritizing tech issues. 

The Washington Post | Senate poised to pass biggest piece of tech regulation in decades

Experts Predict An Explosion in Airport Facial Recognition Tech 

Experts predict that this year could mark a significant shift towards widespread adoption of biometrics in air travel both in the U.S. and globally. 

Biometric technology with facial recognition systems are becoming increasingly prevalent in airports, eliminating the need for physical IDs or boarding passes.

Proponents point to benefits like enhanced security and faster processing for passengers but critics point to one of the most common concerns for parents when it comes to adopting new technology: privacy.

The New York Times | Facial Recognition in Airports: Biometrics Technology Is Expanding

The European Union (EU) has launched a comprehensive investigation into TikTok over potential breaches of the Digital Services Act (DSA), focusing on the safety of minors and other key concerns.

The probe will examine issues such as addictive algorithms, age verification, privacy settings, ad transparency, and data access for researchers. 

The investigation follows similar trends in the United States where parents and policymakers are becoming increasingly active in concerns about the impact of social media on kids.

Engadget | The EU opens a wide-ranging probe into TikTok

Kids Are Finding Explicit Adult Books via TikTok

A report by the Guardian found children on TikTok are being exposed to explicit adult content through the hashtag #BookTok.

The platform’s algorithm often recommends videos that review and promote adult-themed books to young users. 

Parents and experts are calling for better content moderation and robust age verification measures on social platforms to protect young users from inappropriate content.

The Guardian | Children exposed to ‘spicy’ adult fiction by BookTok influencers

State-imposed TikTok Time Limits?

Colorado lawmakers are considering legislation to limit how social media platforms target youth. 

One proposed requirement is that the Colorado Department of Education create a resource bank for educators and parents about social media’s effects on youth mental health.

Another proposal is to require pop-up warnings for young users who have been on a social media app for more than an hour or late at night.

The Denver Post | TikTok time limit? Pop-up warnings proposed for Colorado youth on social media late at night.

What did we miss?

Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to cover it next week.


  • Samir Y. Byrd on Feb 25, 2024 06:30 PM

    Your words are powerful and have the ability to make a real difference in people's lives Keep using your voice to spread positivity and knowledge

  • Gabb on Feb 27, 2024 05:45 PM

    Thank you! We appreciate your support of Gabb!

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