Unpopular Opinion, The Kids Online Safety Act is Going to Harm More Kids than it Protects
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Unpopular Opinion, The Kids Online Safety Act is Going to Harm More Kids than it Protects

I get it. The people who write these laws live in a world where kids all have a loving family who cares about them and want only to protect them from the evil that exists “out there.” They will provide whatever help and information their kids need, and there’s no need for them to navigate the wildness of the internet.  But we make information available to kids online because that’s not their reality. They don’t have supportive parents, they get kicked out for being gay, they are being abused at home, they are dealing with mental health issues their parents refuse to acknowledge, and they are often alone in trying to get help.

Those kids need an open internet.

On Martin Luther King Day

On Martin Luther King Day

When I think of the famous speeches of Dr. King, I am always reminded of this fact. We have always seen certain groups of people as less deserving of the rights we willingly claim for ourselves. Be it blacks, immigrants, prisoners, those with mental health struggles or disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, or addicts, it is far too easy to look at them with judgment and disdain. Maybe even fear. They’re different than me. What happens to them is not my concern. They probably brought it on themselves anyway.

Those are all too easy to say. The hard work is in looking at people who are different from us, who live different lives, make different choices, and recognize our common humanity. That’s what Dr. King was talking about. Not being blind to our differences but being aware that we are all human and deserve respect based on that. So when a black man is lynched, or a prisoner dies from a lack of medical care, or someone struggling dies from suicide without access to mental healthcare, or because their own family won’t accept them for who they are, we fail as a society. We fail to see human life as human life.

Social Connections Don’t Solve Everything But They Matter, A Lot

Social Connections Don’t Solve Everything But They Matter, A Lot

On the other hand, when we are struggling, our first instinct is often to not get in touch with someone. It’s to isolate. I suspect that is because we live in a world that has been telling us to be positive. That feeling down shouldn’t be shared, lest we negatively influence our friends and be cut out of their lives. (Good vibes only, am I right?)

That’s not the way any of this is supposed to work.

Loneliness and the Loss of Third Places

Loneliness and the Loss of Third Places

We are much more likely to watch Netflix instead of spending time in a third place. We are a culture that is seeing less and less interest in churches, club memberships, leagues, etc., and one that provides fewer clubs, small events, and other spaces for people to hang out in. That has hurt us socially. Media has made us much more afraid of each other, pushing us away from forming communities. (Fox specializes in terrifying their own audience and telling them to keep coming back to learn all the things they should be scared of, and others have followed in their footsteps.)They have helped us become less and less interested in creating third places. If we do gather, it’s usually for some specific purpose or event, not something we do on an ongoing basis. So, we never form the bonds that give us a sense of belonging.

We are lonely. That loneliness is causing immense harm. We don’t belong anywhere, but we should belong and try to find ways to create a space where people can belong.