Parents or Platforms:

Who Controls The Internet?

456 contestants, 111M viewers, almost $900M revenue. Squid Game is bigger than even Netflix’s “wildest dreams”.

Unless you’ve been living in a social media vacuum, this won’t come as a surprise.

‘#SquidGame’ has over 74.3 B TikTok views. With a 28% underage audience, it’s no wonder parents are a bit concerned with their children’s consumption…

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A few weeks back, kids were replicating Squid Game in the playground. As a result, parents were warned to tighten their children’s digital leash, but is this easier said than done?

WFH policies forced nearly all 5-15 year olds to be online last year. Plus, up to 50% of parents had to relax their child’s online usage during this time.

Without home regulation, did platforms step in to close the gap?

 

A bit. Snapchat and TikTok introduced a family pairing tool. This kept parental eyes on privacy settings and screen time.

Plus, TikTokers under 16 had their accounts bubble wrapped. So, limited comment freedom, no duets and stitch functions, and un-downloadable vids… but what about users under 13?

More than half of 11-year-olds in the UK have social media accounts. Even worse, TikTok deleted seven M underage accounts during the first three months of this year alone.

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Short of a generation-wide internet ban, what’s to be done? And by who? Parents or platforms?

One side of the coin is for platforms to have more responsibility . For example, by forcing new users to verify their age.

UK gov raised a petition to enforce this, but Parliament responded  saying: “user ID verification could disproportionately impact vulnerable users and interfere with freedom of expression.”

The other side of the argument is pushing parents to be more involved in their kids’ social media life.

Over 60% of parents already monitor their children’s internet history, and 35% have their kids’ passwords.

A new Australian bill argues these checks must be set in stone; platforms must obtain parental consent for all under 16 users. Sites flaunting this rule will be charged 10% of the company’s domestic annual turnover, 3x the financial benefit of the breach, or $10 million AUD.

Zuckerberg’s quaking in his boots, but in the meantime I ask, ‘what if there’s another solution?’

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Introducing: Yoti.

This company pledges a new way to tackle age fraud — not through parents or platforms, but through AI.

Yoti is a built-in gatekeeper.

Camera phones, tablets, and laptops will ‘age-check’ users between six and 60, through by comparing the user’s facial features to images of millions of known-age users.

Porn and gaming sites are already using it, as well as Estonian supermarket checkouts!

Then again, it’s not a perfect fix; Yoti’s margin of error is 2.79 years, and when guessing older women with darker skin, this is widened .

Plus, who’s watching these watchkeepers?

If Yoti hits mainstream, they’ll be armed with invaluable, personal data.

However, as Yoti grows its database, their technology will improve and, *fingers crossed*, tighten the net, making them a voice worth listening to.

Although Yoti seems to be the big dog, there’s other software in the Age Verification Providers Association (yep, that’s a thing) that are fighting the same fight.

Take Experian or the ICU from Innovative Technology, for instance. Granted, these are more tailored to retail environments, but the opportunity to grow into social is there.

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With celebrity and influencer kids becoming the new gen of platform users, it’s a weird time to pull their usage into question.

As platform natives, parent influencers Daddy & Dad gave us their take.

Tom and Jamie agreed there’s only so much parents can do alone. “The best” course of action is for parents to, “maintain a level of trust and open communication with kids” until a wider security system is put in place.

Could the AVPA have found it?

 

We’d love to hear what you think.

Should parents or platforms should step up more?

Whichever side of the coin you’re on, we’ll help you nail a #SFW brief that you’ll have no drama sharing with all the family.

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