This article will likely be shorter than I could really elaborate on but I wanted to make a note of something.
I am a fan of the YouTube Channel Nexpo which recently made the following video about a “children’s chat” site that allows adults to interact with children, seemingly to solicit them.
The responses the site admins gave about how they cannot secure the site is rather ridiculous. Look I have been using the internet since I was eleven years old so I know something about the importance of access to the internet for youth and how it can help them gain community when they might not readily have one in their personal lives. Yet, a site like this does seem to me like it has been intentionally made insecure. The ways to secure such a site are trivial to implement.
I have also long been critical of how YouTube and other social media sites encourage children to produce videos that can be watched by adults who may have more sinister objectives, and let them chat with adults. These companies rely heavily on youth as users and producers of content, and they often monetize it at the risk of these kids. While my previous venture did have content creators who were youth they only made gaming content, and not the kind of pinup or modeling videos that other people encourage them to create.
When I developed Zenither it was important to me that we try to protect youth users. The platform has powerful parental controls that allow parents to control what content they wish to restrict their child from watching. No analytics of a child used account are tracked, and while ads will play they are not age or interest targeted ads but localized ads served to any viewer in that geographic location OR ads that are sold specifically against the content being watched. Children are not allowed to be specifically targeted as a demographic in our platform. We also disable chat and commenting features for child accounts, too.
Having invested into securing our platform for children to protect them from exploitation it bothers me tremendously when no effort is made by others to do this and poor excuses are given instead.
I understand why governments and states implement these laws, and while I am adamant that advertising must remain a key part of the business model of television to support the industry and all it employs with work, I disagree that children need to be exploited the way that many social media sites do today.