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.

Anxiety and Depression as Evolutionary Response to Adversity

Anxiety and Depression as Evolutionary Response to Adversity

We evolved to feel depression and anxiety in response to difficult experiences because it serves a purpose. We’ve also evolved to depend on each other as a community. One without the other is going to go poorly for us, and I fear that is exactly where we are now. The large increases in rates of depression and anxiety, not to mention what seems like our complete inability to make a dent in the rates of suicide in the US, might just be because of this imbalance.

So be good to each other, and stay connected to each other. It’s what we need most in times of adversity.

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Nothing tells me that we still have a long way to go when it comes to stigma like learning about a clearly distressed young man getting killed on a subway while other passengers sat and watched. Because his situation was uncomfortable. His manic behavior made them uncomfortable and all of the compassion for other people who struggle with mental health issues went right out the window in this case. This wasn’t a well-put-together person speaking calmly, this was very different. The same core issue – mental health – but different results. One group is acceptable. The other not so much.

That’s stigma.

There’s a New Form of Stigma Around Mental Health and It’s Extremely Dangerous

There’s a New Form of Stigma Around Mental Health and It’s Extremely Dangerous

If you can’t read that, or Twitter starts blocking embeds again – at the mention of a pediatric psychiatric hospital Rep. Cox said “You might want to check that place for grooming”.

Yes, the very mention of providing mental health care for children is met with a suggestion that it is a place for grooming. Because, of course, anyone who encourages kids to talk about their mental health is out to groom them for sexual abuse.

This is a dangerous path that we are on.

Some Conversations Are Easier Online

Some Conversations Are Easier Online

I have understood this for a long time. I can write here and don’t have to see anyone react immediately when they read it. I can see their reaction when I tell someone about being abused in person. I can watch their facial expressions and body language. I can see every bit of their discomfort, and their signs of dismissal cut me. If you don’t think telling someone in person that you need their help isn’t scary, I can only assume that is because you’ve never done it.

So when you see someone share something on social media about their mental health, and your response is to wonder why they didn’t just talk to you about it, remember how much harder that is. Maybe they aren’t ready yet, or you just haven’t done enough to earn that trust. Consider how many people in your life may be dealing with very difficult things they just haven’t told anyone about yet.