Creating Safer Digital Places for Kids

Join child advocates around the country who are calling for accurate app ratings and descriptions due to online grooming, sex trafficking, pornography, and sexploitation. #fixappratings

Little kids on phones (tiny)

Creating Safer Digital Places for Kids

Child advocates call for accurate app ratings and descriptions due to online grooming, sex trafficking, pornography, and sexploitation. #fixappratings

BREAKING NEWS: On November 20, 2019, House Representatives Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Ben MacAdams (D-UT) submitted House Resolution 721 calling to establish an app ratings board and intuitive parental controls!

Tween Girl - Fix App Ratings

THE PROBLEM

Tech currently self-rates and has no accountability. 

No one is holding technology companies accountable for the impacts they have on our young people. Many apps popular with youth are incorrectly self-rated and include dishonest and generic app descriptions that deceive parents about the dangers kids face on these platforms. 

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Protect Young Eyes, Utah State Senator Todd Weiler, and child advocate Melissa McKay have started a movement to increase accountability in the current app rating system. Read our complete statement.

SNAPCHAT (12+)

Snap Chat

App Store says: infrequent/mild sexual content and nudity, alcohol, drug use, profanity, and suggestive themes.

Reality: sextortion, pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking, monetized accounts for sex acts, minimal parental controls, Discover news articles frequently push: porn, risky sexual behaviors, sexting, drugs and alcohol. Recommended: 17+

NETFLIX (4+)

Netflix

App Store says: because it's 4+, no content warnings included.

Reality: poor parental controls, regularly recommends TV-MA, R, and NC-17 content next to child content, originally-produced content depicts: graphic sexual violence, normalizing sex trafficking of minors and gratuitous nudity. Recommended: 17+

INSTAGRAM (12+)

Instagram

App Store says: infrequent/mild sexual content and nudity, alcohol, drug use, profanity, and suggestive themes.

Reality: sex trafficking and prostitution, self-harm, cyberbullying, pornography, nudity, animal abuse, lack of strong reporting, lack of parental controls, unrestricted web access, no age verification, drugs and alcohol, child abuse and sexual abuse images. Recommended: 17+

“Parents are empowered with rating information to keep kids out of R-rated films, but when it comes to apps, parents are left in the dark about the kind of content their children are accessing.”

Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation

The Solution: Advocates Call for the Following Actions

Creation of a Separate App Ratings Board with the Power to Impose Sanctions for Non-Compliance

Movies (MPAA) and video games (ESRB) are held accountable for their ratings and descriptions. Why isn't the same true for popular apps? 

Release of Intuitive Parental Controls for iOS, Android, and Chromebooks

Eliminate the loopholes and complexities. Provide school and bedtime selective app shutoff. Give parents default settings based on age.

We need each of you to take action! Here are your next steps:

Step 1: Find your Representative and send an email

We need sponsors for H. Res. 721! Find your Representative here. Click on the small envelope below the Rep.’s name in the listing and generate an email using the template provided, asking for their support:

Talking points are in process

Step 2: Follow-up with an actual phone call

Phone calls still work in politics! A week after you send an email, call the representative’s DC office to ask the staff if they received it. You can find the directory here.

Step 3: Join the Team

Receive exclusive updates on our Facebook page.

“It’s our societal duty to protect kids online, and that starts with properly warning parents about the risks associated with certain apps and giving parents more parental controls options.”

Chris McKenna, Founder of Protect Young Eyes

Are you looking for more details?

This post explains our complete plan.

“We need social media platforms to step up and be better corporate citizens and neighbors. Our children’s innocence is at stake.”

Todd Weiler, Utah State Senator