Los Angeles Times

Dear Tech CEOs,

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We are the youth of America. We were born into a digital world. A digital world designed in part by you, without us in mind. That needs to change, now, with the California Age Appropriat­e Design Code (AADC).

The internet wasn’t created for us. A recent study found that of the apps and services teenagers age 13-17 use, less than a third were actually designed for teens.1 Current tech regulation only protects kids under the age of 13, yet the negative impacts of social media do not suddenly disappear when we turn 13. As teens, we lose countless hours of sleep because autoplay is the default setting on apps with videos. We question our self-worth because we are fed targeted ads that promote harmful practices and unattainab­le beauty standards. We are subject to bullying, discrimina­tion, and sextortion because you are willing to sacrifice our health for profit.

The California AADC requires you to design your products and services with our best interests in mind. By supporting the AADC, you have the opportunit­y to curb the tide of tech’s harms while creating space for its positive aspects to flourish. This is not about limiting our access to the internet and its connective, expressive, and innovative opportunit­ies. It is about amplifying our abilities to engage with such opportunit­ies without a looming risk of harm.

We call on you to create a safer online world where our well-being is prioritize­d and support the California Age Appropriat­e Design Code as it covers all minors–older teens have the right to navigate the internet without their data being mined for profit, too–and includes all the websites and apps kids visit.

We are the future of America. And we are asking you to design online spaces for us, so the next generation can benefit from your platforms. Please join us in working together to create a safer, better, digital future.

Sincerely,

 ?? ?? From Accountabl­e Tech 2022 report entitled “The Online Products American Teens & Children Use Are Overwhelmi­ngly Not ‘Directed at Children’”, based on data obtained in 2021 by the Thorn and Benenson Strategy Group.
From Accountabl­e Tech 2022 report entitled “The Online Products American Teens & Children Use Are Overwhelmi­ngly Not ‘Directed at Children’”, based on data obtained in 2021 by the Thorn and Benenson Strategy Group.

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