Questions for ‘U.S. lawmakers look for ways to protect kids on social media’

a photo of a row of kids sitting on a sofa, all of them are on devices

Gen Zers spend much of their lives on social media, often responding more to their devices than to the people beside them. Though many online posts are fun, supportive and informative, others can be hurtful, dangerous or exploitative. Government officials are now looking to protect kids from those harmful posts.

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To accompany ‘U.S. lawmakers look for ways to protect kids on social media


Before Reading:

  1. What social media platforms do you use regularly? About how much time do you spend on them daily?
  2. In general, is most of the content you view on social media positive or negative? How do you control the types of content that you see on different platforms?

During Reading:

  1. What happened during the Senate hearing on January 31? Who was asking the questions during this hearing? Who was being questioned?
  2. According to a 2023 Pew Research Center survey, what is the most popular social media platform among U.S. teens? About how many teens use this platform?
  3. What are three examples of troubling content that kids have been exposed to on social media platforms?
  4. According to documents from the company Meta, how much money is each teen user worth to the company?
  5. What did a former Facebook employee disclose during a 2021 Senate hearing?
  6. According to the leaders of social media companies, how have their companies been working to limit harms to teens?
  7. What is the goal of the Kids Online Safety Act? What would it require that social media companies do?
  8. What are some concerns expressed by Anna B. and Stevie H. about social media limitations being placed on kids and teens?
  9. What are three ways that social media can benefit users, according to Linda Charmaraman?
  10. In research by Jacqueline Nesi, which group of young people was most likely to have bad experiences using social media? Which group was most likely to benefit from social media?

After Reading:

  1. Summarize in your own words at least two benefits and at least two potential harms for teens using social media. Do you think those benefits or harms outweigh the other, or are they about the same? Explain your answer.
  2. Based on what you’ve read, do you think social media use by teens under 18 should be limited? What about teens under 13? Explain why or why not for each age group.
  3. What role do you think social media companies should play in protecting young users from harmful content? What role do you think the government and laws should play? What role do you think parents or guardians should play? Finally, what role can teens have in protecting themselves and their peers from harmful social-media content?