It’s hard to imagine a day going by without us reaching for our phones or computers to connect with friends or family, isn’t it?
Social media platforms have practically become indispensable in our daily routines. We turn to them to stay up-to-date with the latest news or to simply express ourselves freely among others who share similar perspectives.
However, as social media use has increased, so have concerns about it being unregulated and negatively impacting society.
Issues like cyberbullying have been on the rise, with social media platforms allowing their users to engage anonymously and from afar. This has led to the creation of an environment where people feel less constrained by social norms and aren’t as afraid of the consequences of their actions.
That’s where the urgency for social media regulations comes in – and such urgency should be addressed with youth inclusion in the law-making process.
As the most active users of social media, the voices and perspectives of young people should be taken into account when shaping the laws and policies affecting them, and here’s why.
Reasons for youth inclusion in social media law-making
Younger generations are more tech-savvy
We’re living in an age of fast-paced technological changes and rapid shifts in social media trends.
While these new developments and innovations are raising some important issues, like privacy concerns and the spread of misinformation, they are also powerful tools for creativity and connection.
Social media provides a wide range of information for people to stay informed about current events and issues and helps amplify the voices of marginalized communities with different perspectives. That’s why it’s important to develop laws flexible enough to adapt to these changes.
What better way to create such flexible laws than to include younger, tech-savvy generations who understand how social media works in the decision-making process?
Rest assured, young people are well-suited to offer insight into the potential consequences of such regulations and to propose alternative and more effective solutions.
Young people are disproportionately affected by the issues created by the rise of social media platforms
We’ve already mentioned that privacy concerns and the spread of false or misleading information are some of the important issues raised by social media.
Apart from that, there’s also cyberbullying, the cultivation of polarization and mistrust among different groups, and dependence on external validation.
As it turns out, young people tend to be more affected by these issues, and a staggering 83% believe that social media platforms should be doing more to manage online bullying and harassment.
For this reason, young voices are critical in understanding the impact of these issues on society and developing legally enforceable solutions to address them.
Young people are the future
That’s how the saying goes, which means laws that impact younger generations should be made relevant and effective for their age group.
Young generations come with unique experiences and perspectives, different from those of their parents and grandparents. Their needs and priorities have changed, and so should the laws.
So, how do we make this happen?
Through inclusion and guidance.
Youth from all over the world should be educated and empowered about their social media rights.
Each young citizen of the United States should have the right to be directly represented in their state regulatory bodies.
Young New Yorkers should be able to find a lawyer in NYC who can provide them with the guidance and support they need to make a meaningful impact.
And that leads us to our next point.
How can we include the youth in the social media law-making process?
First and foremost, young people need to be educated about the concerns raised by social media.
If they’re aware of these issues and taught how to responsibly navigate the digital environment, they’ll feel more confident about advocating for their rights and reporting things like cyberbullying.
In addition, young people should be consulted about social media laws. This could be done either through online surveys, youth-led committees or by including them in the oversight committees making these laws.
This way, they’ll get to share their concerns, experiences, and priorities, and governments will be able to better understand why certain solutions may not be effective or suitable for young people.
Last but not least, young generations should be involved in the enforcement of social media regulations.
Their unique perspectives can be of huge help in developing guidelines and best practices for social media platforms and their users.
As social media continues to play an integral part in young people’s lives, it is crucial that they have a seat at the law-making table and that their voices are heard when it comes to deciding how these platforms should be governed.
Only like this can we pave the way for the creation of a more inclusive, morally correct, and equitable digital landscape for all.
Follow Techiemag for more!