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Groundswell of Concern Over Teenage Media Addiction

A new public interest group called Mothers Against Media Addiction, or MAMA, has begun a nationwide campaign to recruit parents to advocate for regulation of social media companies’ ability to intentionally design harmful algorithms.

In an article published on March 5, 2024, in The Washington Post, tech policy reporter Cristiano Lima-Strong, writes, “MAMA aims to develop a presence across the U.S. by setting up chapters that can serve as a hub to inform parents and help them organize politically.” So far, the group has a presence in New York, New Jersey and Vermont.

Mama was created by journalist and prolific writer, Julie Scelfo, with financing from the Center for Humane Technology led by Tristan Harris, the former Google ethicist who resigned over his concerns about how dangerous technology was being deployed without proper concern for the harm it could cause.

Harris was featured in the Emmy award-winning Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma. Harris complains about how Google watches every keystroke, every online action, and uses that information to custom tailor the responses you get from search inquiries. All of it is designed to maximize your time interacting with Google’s advertisers. You can watch a trailer with Harris at this link.

Google isn’t the only one watching and sculpting a customized reality designed to maximize interaction. MAMA held a rally on March 25 outside the offices of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, companies credited with developing “addictive algorithms” and knowingly unleashing them on teenage users.

The rally at Meta’s New York offices was in support of legislation restricting collecting data on minors and restricting the use of addictive algorithms, according to CBS News. Governor Kathy Hochul is supporting both bills. MAMA is also proposing that schools be made smartphone-free zones.

On Monday, March 25, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation prohibiting social media accounts for children under the age of 14, and requiring parental consent for social media accounts for 14- and 15-year-olds. 

Technology companies lobbied against the Florida law and have promised to take it to court. According to Cristiano Lima-Strong at The Washington Post, there’s a great deal of pushback to both social media bans and smartphone bans from digital rights activists and parents who rely on these channels to coordinate school activities, child care and transportation.

Written by Steve O’Keefe. First published April 3, 2024.


“Moms’ group launches grass-roots fight against social media ‘addiction’,” The Washington Post, March 5, 2024.

“Mothers Against Media Addiction holds rally outside Meta offices in Manhattan,” CBS News, March 22, 2024.

“DeSantis puts final stamp on Florida law blocking kids from social media,” CBS, March 25, 2024.

Image Copyright: dolgachov.


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