Tech companies are some of the world’s most powerful entities and, too often, they wield their power in ways that harm kids. They enable child sexual exploitation and the spread of child sexual abuse images; track children and sell their private information to third parties; expose kids to extremist beliefs, and disinformation; intentionally addict them; degrade their mental health and body image – all while creating a permanent public record of personal information that can be accessed by anyone. The pandemic has meant our kids spend more time online than ever before, exacerbating all these harms.
But ParentsTogether has been fighting back, mobilizing our 2.5 million members across the U.S. to hold tech platforms accountable.
Join us by clicking to add your name to the campaigns below.
Roblox introduces spending limits and notifications
Kids were spending hundreds or thousands of dollars without permission on Roblox. Following a campaign from ParentsTogether which featured parents speaking to the media about how their child bankrupted them on Roblox, Roblox added spending limits for kids under 13 and spending alert notifications for parents.
Snapchat changes “Quick Add” to stop connecting kids with adult strangers
Snapchat changed the “Quick Add” feature on their product to stop recommending children connect with adult strangers, a major risk factor for child sexual abuse, following ParentsTogether’s request that they make the feature safer.
Twitter adds in-app CSAM reporting
Previously Twitter users could report problems from spam to hate speech, but they couldn’t report child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from the app. Following a ParentsTogether campaign signed by more than 12,000 parents and petition from our partners at Ultraviolet, they added in-app CSAM reporting.
YouTube turns autoplay off on some kids’ content
The addictive feature of autoplay was on by default on all YouTube accounts, and YouTube Kids didn’t even have an option to turn it off. Following global activism from many groups, including a campaign and action projecting parent experiences with autoplay and addiction onto YouTube’s LA headquarters, the company announced they would turn autoplay off by default on kids’ accounts and add a feature to YouTube Kids to turn off autoplay.
Twitter makes policy changes following livestreaming CSAM reports
ParentsTogether worked directly with Twitter after finding CSAM (child sexual abuse material) was being live streamed via Periscope, owned by Twitter. Twitter reported the CSAM to the authorities and made major changes to their policies and products, across the company. They eventually shut down Periscope.
Snapchat starts scanning videos for CSAM
More than 100,000 ParentsTogether members signed a letter to Snapchat asking them to scan videos for CSAM (they already scanned photos). Snapchat met with ParentsTogether and now scans all videos for CSAM.
Twitter bans hashtags and users organizing sexually-explicit Zoombombings targeting kids
ParentsTogether sent an open letter to Twitter after finding Zoombombings targeting kids were being organized on Twitter. After meeting with ParentsTogether, Twitter removed several hashtags and accounts that were organizing racist or sexually explicit Zoom attacks.
New York implements two year facial recognition technology moratorium
Following a day of action supported by ParentsTogether and other allies in New York, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation for a two year moratorium on facial recognition software in the state.
Amazon significantly increases CSAM reporting from 8 to 2000+ reports
ParentsTogether delivered 40,000 parent signatures and staged a “teddy bear sit in” outside Jeff Bezos’s house asking Amazon Web Services to find and report CSAM. Afterwards, they increased their number of reports from just 8 to over 2000.
Twitter Blocks Racist Anti-Asian Hashtags
Twitter – which is used by millions of kids and teens – was covered in anti-Asian hashtags like #kungflu and #bateatingchinese that falsely blamed Chinese people for the coronavirus pandemic. Following a campaign from ParentsTogether and other allies, they blocked several anti-Asian hashtags.
TikTok and Instagram: Stop addicting kids; Give parents control!
Social media is a highly addictive product that nearly half of American children age 13-17, and a large, unknown number of younger children, say they use “almost constantly”. One of the most dangerous and addictive features is the “endless scroll” – the never-ending content stream that intentionally keeps kids glued to their phones for hours. Both TikTok and Instagram need to create parental controls that allow parents to set healthy time and use limits for their kid
TikTok and Instagram: Stop Pushing Extreme Weight Loss and Dieting on Kids!
How to eat 300 calories a day. How to look like “The Corpse Bride”. How to trick your parents into believing you ate. These are all real videos TikTok and Instagram are actively pushing on kids! January is a month when kids feel more pressure than usual to succumb to diet culture and engage in dangerous dieting and weight loss activities. TikTok and Instagram must stop pushing extreme dieting and weight loss content on kids immediately!
Tell tech companies to make virtual reality headsets safe for kids!
Virtual reality (VR) headsets like Meta’s Oculus Quest are exposing children to a nightmare world of sexual harassment, threats of violence and grooming. A new study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that users of a popular VR app faced abusive behavior every seven minutes! Despite the risks to minors, major VR brands Meta and HTC have failed to add parental controls that would let parents screen out harmful and age-inappropriate material and protect their children from VR’s dark side.
Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Disinformation!
COVID-19 disinformation and anti-vax lies are thriving on social media platforms as a new group — children ages 5-11 — just gained access to lifesaving vaccines. Parents across the country are making decisions about whether or not to vaccinate their children right now, and they are being duped. Unless social media platforms take immediate and decisive action to deplatform people who spread disinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccine, hundreds of thousands of kids will remain at risk of getting sick and prolonging the pandemic.
Apple: Stop giving kids access to dangerous adult apps
A report exposed that Apple lets kids download risky adult apps — including for casual sex and chatting with strangers — from their app store.
TikTok: Stop Pushing White Supremacy
TikTok, the most popular social media platform with kids and teens, is full of hate speech and extremism, including white supremacy, terrorism, and hundreds of other examples of harmful, inappropriate videos.
TikTok: Let parents see what kids see; Mirror kids’ accounts for parents
Even though it is the #1 platform for kids, TikTok is full of bullying, sexual predators, and harmful content encouraging violence and self-harm. Parents should be able to see what kind of content TikTok serves their children to help keep them safe.
Tell Congress: Hold Big Tech Accountable
The House Judiciary Committee advanced a series of bills intended to constrain the monopolistic powers of Big Tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple. If signed into law, these bills will help bring choice and control back to the consumer and stop the oversized influence these companies have on our economy, our politics, and our daily lives.
#COVIDLiesKill – Tell Twitter: We need options!
Anti-vaxxers are all over Twitter, but the platform doesn’t have a method to report tweets or accounts that spread lies about the pandemic or the vaccine.
Tell Google: Remove white supremacist and Nazi content from Google Podcasts
A disturbing report in the New York Times found that Google Podcasts hosts podcasts pushing conspiracy theories and white supremacy. Some of the shows are even hosted by Nazis!
Google: Stop Sharing Kids’ Private Info
Google is collecting children’s private information and sharing it with other companies for profit. They are doing this with no parental consent, even for kids as young as preschoolers.
Stop corporations from mapping kids’ bodies for profit
There are vast databases of American children’s unique, personal physical and behavioral features—their biometrics. And they are owned by private corporations.
Tell Facebook to abandon its plans to target young children on Instagram
Excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to adolescents. Armed with that information, instead of blocking minors from Instagram, Facebook has decided to target even younger children.
YouTube: Stop Addicting Our Kids!
YouTube intentionally addicts children to their platform using manipulative design. They use engineering features to serve children an endless stream of videos and recommendations that often veer into inappropriate and even harmful content.
Stop Racist Proctoring in Schools!
Schools across the country are using discriminatory online proctoring software that watches students on their computers while they take tests. But this software often does not recognize children of color.
TikTok: No unrealistic “beauty” filters for kids
One out of three teen girls are unhappy with the way they look by the time they’re 14! Heavy social media use — especially for young femme and nonbinary kids — is one of the primary drivers of this trend.
Amazon: Give kids access to books
Amazon controls the majority of America’s book distribution but fails to do what every other major publisher does: sell e-books and audiobooks to public libraries where kids can access them for free on apps.
Skype: Stop Livestreaming Child Sexual Abuse!
Skype, owned by Microsoft, is a popular live streaming app that law enforcement has said is the #1 source for livestreaming child sexual abuse.
Racists are recruiting kids on YouTube!
White supremacists are using the Internet to recruit children, and YouTube is helping them. YouTube needs to stop serving vulnerable children unending streams of racist and hate recruitment videos.
Tell the US Department of Education: No Facial Recognition in School!
Companies are aggressively working to introduce facial recognition in our children’s classrooms, and schools across America are buying in. This is a huge problem because studies clearly show that facial recognition is biased and frequently misidentifies people with darker skin.