Amnesty International’s Report: Driven into the Darkness

17th November, 2023.

Amnesty International issued a recent report on harm to children’s mental health caused by Tik Tok’s For You algorithm. Centre Director Elizabeth Farries discussed the report on Newstalk Breakfast together with Minister for Education Norma Foley’s announcement that she will support parents in taking collective action to prevent primary school children from owning mobile phones. Both the Amnesty report and the Minister’s plan are focused on protecting children from what Amnesty call ‘harmful content rabbit holes’: Exposure to content that can damage mental health is amplified by algorithms which collect data on children’s viewing history, build profiles and swamp their feeds with negative messages. Dr. Farries described the varying policy and regulatory approaches to help improve children’s experiences, from media literacy education for children and parents, to consent based tick-box exercises proposed by the platforms themselves, to stronger regulation, for example banning some of the social media business models that profile children and surface harmful content, and as far as possibly banning phones themselves for children under a certain age. 

You can read the Amnesty International Report Driven into the Darkness here

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