Social Media Firms Made Billions From Teens

( – Social media companies made $11 billion in 2022 from advertisements aimed at children and teenagers. A study conducted by Harvard found that giants such as YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram were the biggest earners and accounted for 30% to 40% of total revenue. S. Bryn Austin, author of the study and a professor of social and behavioral science at the Ivy League school, said that while social media platforms claim they will take action to protect children, “our study suggests they have overwhelming financial incentives to continue to delay taking meaningful steps.”

Regarding figures, Instagram made $4 billion, TikTok $2 billion, and YouTube $1.2 billion, all from adverts directed at young people. The Harvard study focused on two age groups, under 12 and between 13 and 17, and examined their activities across the major platforms.

Youth mental health and social media have come under increasing scrutiny in the last couple of years, and experts are warning that it has a significant detrimental impact. Research published by the National Library of Medicine found that consistent use of social media causes sleep deprivation, which affects education and overall cognitive ability. Furthermore, because young people’s self-esteem is affected by the number of “likes” etc. they receive, it has contributed to increased depression, anxiety, and self-harm rates.

Last summer, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle came together to tackle the problem with a series of bills, including the Kids Online Safety Act, introduced by Republican Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

The legislation aimed to oblige social media platforms to add protections and remove “addictive product features” such as rewards for time spent online and continuous play of videos and clips. They should also offer young people the option to remove themselves from algorithms and opt out of recommendations.

The Kids Online Safety Act called for parents to have new controls and for companies to perform annual audits assessing risk to minors and demonstrating compliance with the law.

Copyright 2024,