Tuesday, March 5, 2024

AG hosts town hall in NHC regarding social media use for children

Attorney General Josh Stein invites the New Hanover County community to a town hall about the dangers of social media for children. (Courtesy Pexels/Tacy Le Blanc)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The attorney general is hosting a town hall about social media use for children.

Attorney General Josh Stein is inviting parents, caregivers and educators to the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1805 S. 13th St., Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

“Parents and educators have an up-close look about the effects of social media on our children’s well-being,” Stein said in a press release. “I hope the community will join to share their insights as my office works to keep our kids safe online.”

The town hall will kick off with an overview of Stein’s work to investigate social media platforms and whether they’ve violated consumer protection laws promoting their use to children and teens.

In October, Stein — along with 41 other bipartisan AGs — sued Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram. The litigation alleges the company was designing its social media platforms to hook children and deceive the public into thinking social media was safe and suitable for young users.

After an update from Stein at the event, the floor will open to community members in attendance to share their challenges and struggles with their children and social media.

“New Hanover County Schools is committed to maintaining safe and welcoming environments for all students and appreciates the support and collaboration we receive from the Attorney General and all of our state, local, and community partners,” New Hanover County Board of Education Chair Pete Wildeboer said in the release.

Youth online safety is a top priority for the AG, as middle schoolers spend about five-and-a-half hours online each day. High schoolers spend close to eight hours online daily, the release states.

Research has linked the increased time on social media platforms to mental health damage and increased risk of self-harm and suicide. Social media can also expose children to abusive or sexually explicit content, warping their understanding of healthy relationships.

To register for the town hall, send an RSVP email to outreach@ncdoj.gov.

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