Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC), a legal resource for parents of children harmed by social media addiction and abuse, has launched its “No Parental Consent to Social Media” campaign which gives parents and guardians of minors a voice in letting Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok know that they do not give their permission or consent for their children to open or have specific social media accounts.
While federal law requires parental consent for a social media company to collect data from children under 13 years of age, and some of these companies require parental consent for children under 18, none of them effectively verify age, identity or parental consent, nor do they provide parents with mechanisms and resources for quick and effective notification when consent has not been given. These companies also allow children to open multiple accounts, and to access those accounts via school devices and school email addresses, while not verifying other information (such as emails and phone numbers) that would help keep children safe on social media.
Parents and guardians can visit the No Parental Consent page to fill out forms which will be emailed on their behalf to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and/or TikTok, notifying the social media companies that they do not give their permission for their children to open or have these accounts. These companies currently are not being held accountable, but SMVLC hopes to change that, and parents willing to speak up and make their voices heard can help. This form gives parents the opportunity to direct a letter to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, along with their child’s age, usernames, and email addresses associated with the accounts.
“SMVLC’s ‘No Parental Consent to Social Media’ campaign provides parents with a vehicle to notify Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok that they do not consent to their children using these dangerous platforms,” said Matthew P. Bergman, founding attorney of SMVLC. “These social media companies consciously designed their products to permit kids to evade parental authority and frustrate parents’ ability to exercise responsibility over their children’s social media use.
“As a result, parents are unable to protect their kids from becoming addicted to social media, being directed to harmful and psychologically-destructive content, sending and receiving sexually explicit images, or being solicited by online pedophiles. These social media giants currently have the technology to protect kids against these harms but choose not to because it would be detrimental to their bottom line,” he added.
SMVLC has filed more than a dozen cases against the world’s biggest social media companies, alleging wrongful death, emotional and mental damage caused by cyberbullying, and the intentional creation of products children find addicting.
Bergman and his firm represent families whose children have died by suicide, accidentally killed themselves attempting dangerous stunts and pranks, and who have suffered from anxiety, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders caused by social media products.