WASHINGTON - A group of attorneys general is pushing for TikTok and Snapchat to make their platforms safer for children by giving parents more control to protect them from harmful content.
The National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter Tuesday to Snapchat and TikTok calling for the social media companies to collaborate with parents to make "appropriate tools" available to them to monitor and filter out inappropriate posts and messages on their children’s pages.
The attorneys highlighted TikTok and Snapchat’s "Discover" and "For You" as locations on these sites for parental oversight, given that some of the content on these pages contain sexual and drug-related material.
According to the letter, the attorneys believe parental control apps on these social media platforms can be effective to notify parents or schools of social media posts that may include cyberbullying, sexual predators, suicide attempts and drug use.
"Given the extensive vulnerabilities of your platforms, the protections afforded by apps are even more necessary. While your platforms incorporate some content moderation policies, there are areas, such as direct messaging, that are not monitored in the same way or to the same degree as other areas on your platforms," the letter reads. "In addition, some of your internal parental control settings can be changed or bypassed and still allow inappropriate content."
In 2020, TikTok introduced a feature called Family Pairing, which allows parents to link their TikTok account to their child’s account and moderate how long children spend on the app and what they see. TikTok also addressed bullying on the app in 2021 with the help of its top animation creators, who shared ways they spread kindness online.
Snapchat is one of the most popular social media apps among kids and teens. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which keeps records of what you post and send, Snapchat messages and pictures disappear, making it harder for parents to monitor what their child is doing. But Snapchat does have safe settings available that parents can use to keep their kids safe, FOX13 Seattle reported.
Earlier this month, eight states including California, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey launched an investigation into TikTok and its impact on young people.
The March 3 announcement of the TikTok investigation came a day after President Joe Biden asked Congress to bolster privacy protections for children during his State of the Union address.
On March 4, a spokesperson for TikTok told FOX5 New York that they care about protecting and supporting the well-being of their community and they appreciate the attorneys general focusing on the safety of younger users.
FOX5 New York and FOX13 Seattle contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.