Future Generations

EXTRACTIVE Technology is harming future generations

Future Generations
Attention & Mental Health
Information Environment
Democratic Functioning
Privacy & Safety

Future Generations

Social media and artificial intelligence are embedded in kids’ lives as they use technology for everything from education to socializing

Today’s social media platforms are causing significant harm to children and youth. Social media affects attention spans, self-image, and social skills which is leading to increased cyberbullying and depression.

62% of 12 to 18-year-olds use social media daily 1
Kids and teens spend an average of 91 minutes on TikTok per day 2
54% of teens say it would be hard to give up social media 3

Social media use has skyrocketed but exposure to unrestrained levels of digital technology can have serious long-term consequences for children’s development, creating permanent changes in brain structure that impact how children will think, feel, and act throughout their lives.

Time spent on social media is a significant predictor of depression for adolescents 4
More screen time is associated with mental health and behavioral problems, poor academic performance, and worse sleep 5
Higher screen time is correlated with developmental delays in language, problem-solving, and social interaction 6

Despite the known harms of excessive social media use for youth, tech platforms are still incentivized to maximize attention. Platforms use addictive design, targeted content, and AI-powered feeds to hijack attention and increase time on platforms. Kids also learn that in order to be heard online, they must compete for attention via likes, comments, and performative behavior.

This race for attention creates a downward spiral of real-world harm that jeopardizes the overall safety and well-being of future generations.

Children who have been cyberbullied are 3x more likely to contemplate suicide 7
Nearly 1 in 5 British children aspire to be a social media influencer, above teacher and veterinarian 8
Twice as many teens encountered racist hate speech online in the last 2 years 9

What can you do?

Our Resources

Episode 72

Social Media Victims Lawyer Up

Attorney Laura Marquez-Garrett discusses her work holding social media platforms accountable and draws parallels to the risks of AI.
Episode 70

What Can Technologists Learn from Sesame Street?

Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, SVP of Curriculum for the Sesame Workshop, imagines a future where digital tools could be humanely used to educate the next generation.
Episode 26

Are the Kids Alright? Guest: Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt, NYU social psychologist, examines how social media has contributed to the teen mental health crisis.

Teens, We’ve Been Sneaking Into Your Brains

A presentation by Max Stossel, former social media UX designer, explaining to high schoolers how persuasive technology works.
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Youth Toolkit

Courses and action guides for ages 13-25 to navigate and change our broken social media environment.
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Digital Well-Being Guidelines

Family guidelines that help parents navigate the use of technology at home and in school.
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Why the California Age Appropriate Design Code is Groundbreaking

A recap on a bill that requires online platforms to proactively consider how their product design impacts kids and teens in CA.
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Partner Organizations

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More Resources

  • Join the Screen Time Action Network, a global community of practitioners, educators, advocates, parents, and youth leaders working to reduce harmful screen use in childhood and protect kids online