Facebook’s attempt during today’s Congressional hearing to defend its inaction to protect children from online harms fell short on transparency and accountability. Digital natives, tired of being the guinea pig for big social media companies, are taking their message to the global stage at the Youth 4 Youth iSummit, October 14-17th, 2021. Hosted by LookUp.live, a by-youth-for-youth social venture, in partnership with the creators of the Netflix docu-drama, The Social Dilemma, more than 100 youth activists, entrepreneurs, and innovators are confirmed to speak on topics ranging from digital addiction, suicide, ethical AI, sexual exploitation, and the undeniable impact of Instagram and Tik Tok on young girls mental health.
A sampling of youth speakers includes:
Emma Lembke, Co-Founder of LogOff Movement, alongside her co-founder of Tech[nically] Politics, Aliza Kopans, will speak to current legislative efforts to regulate tech and how youth can get involved.
The Y4Y iSummit is a catalyst for uniting and mobilizing youth advocates and their allies who are taking bold actions to create a healthy, more inclusive, and responsible digital world. Nearly 700 youth advocates representing 35+ countries registered last year for what was believed to be the largest known gathering of youth changemakers committed to this global movement. Attendance at the Y4Y iSummit, which will be hosted live, virtually, and free around the clock in the US, UK, and India, is expected to double this year.
In addition to the Children’s Screentime Action Network adult ally panel, which includes several parents who have lost their children to cyberbullying suicide or a social media challenge, a host of global leaders have stepped up in support of this movement including English Premier League star, Nedum Onuoha, Deval Patrick, Co-Chair of the Future of Tech Commission and former Governor of Massachusetts; Marissa Meizz, founder of No More Lonely Friends; Amanda LaCount, hip hop dancer, choreographer, and plus size model; Jenk Oz, the UK’s youngest CEO and social entrepreneur; and John Della Volpe, Director of Polling at Harvard’s Insitute of Politics and author of Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Passion and Fear to Save America. Senator Edward Markey will issue a call to action in support of this youth-led movement and the KIDS Act.
Susan Reynolds, Co-Founder of LookUp.live, believes that youth-led and youth-designed solutions are key to fixing the broken digital ecosystem so it benefits the whole of society - especially youth. "Adult-designed solutions to a problem they don’t fully understand or - as in the case of the big social companies - have chosen not to fix, have had limited success. The Y4Y iSummit will amplify youth voices and showcase youth-designed solutions to creating a digital world in which they can thrive."
Why it Matters
The digital transformation of society is happening at a rapid pace yielding many undeniable social and economic benefits: mental health and wellbeing communities and support are more available online, access to information and economic opportunities have improved, as has the use of artificial intelligence to advance the sustainable development goals. Yet, our disruptive and ubiquitous digital ecosystem and attention economy are wreaking havoc on the social, emotional, and developmental fabric of our youngest generations - those born digital. Consider the following:
Fact - Children who are cyberbullied are 3X more likely to commit suicide;
Fact - Non-fatal self-harm for girls 10-14 has increased 189% since 2009 - coinciding with the launch of Instagram;
Fact - Nearly 1 in 3 teen girls have been asked by adults for nudes online;
Fact - 50% of youth surveyed say they feel addicted to their phones.
One of the most important facts, however, is that Facebook’s own internal research, which was recently exposed in The Wall Street Journal Facebook Files, indicates that the company knows that Instagram is damaging youth mental health. Still, Facebook continues to push toward the launch of Instagram for Kids under 13.
About the Organizers
The Y4Y iSummit is made possible by LookUp and the creators of the Netflix Docu-drama, The Social Dilemma, in partnership with Center for Humane Technology, Children’s Screentime Action Network, AGL Communications, Digital Wellness Institute, Thred. and the JW Brick Foundation.
Founded in 2019, LookUp is a youth-led 501(c)3 social venture dedicated to helping young people thrive in the digital world. Through our flagship programs and events, we discover, empower, and mobilize youth leaders who are taking action to raise awareness, inspire, and design a healthy, more inclusive, and responsible digital world. Exposure Labs is the film & impact production company behind The Social Dilemma a film that blends documentary investigation and narrative drama to disrupt the disruptors, unveiling the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms.
Attend: Those interested in attending any or all of the Y4Y iSummit should register HERE.
Julie Barrett O'Brien