“But all the other kids are on Facebook.”

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Photo my own, screenshotted off Facebook.com

Media Regulations aren’t a foreign concept to me, they are present on a lot of websites I visit everyday, but I choose to ignore them just like I’m sure many other people do. Regulations are designed to ‘stop’ or restrict people from doing certain things, and media regulations stop people from doing things online or through the media. An easy example of a media regulation is the terms and conditions you are required to ‘agree’ to every time Snapchat has a new update or every time you sign up to a new social media platform. Self-regulation is a concept that is more foreign to me. Of course I know the meaning of it, a simple Google search can do that trick for me, but stopping myself from constantly reaching for my phone, Snapchatting my sister’s doing stupid things to all my friends or posting selfies on Instagram is another issue. This is an example of self-regulation in the media, something that people are generally raised to do in my generation, as Facebook was just becoming popular as a lot of people my age were becoming teenagers. Understandably, some parents didn’t want their teenagers on Facebook until they knew what it was, or how private their settings would be. (Magid, 2012)

I distinctly remember my mum telling my I could go on Habbo Hotel when I was 12 years old (she didn’t know it was a social platform at this stage, and I never told her either), though she said I couldn’t go on Facebook until I was 14 because anyone could look at my information. This was my earliest experience of media regulation. Let’s take a look at Snapchat; earlier this year an alcohol ad watchdog over the amount of alcohol advertising on Snapchat from U.S companies which presented concerns that this would be mimicked by Australian companies through Snapchat. Their main concern was that younger demographics that had access to the marketing scheme would see the alcohol advertisements through Snapchat and become interested. (Bennett, 2016) Julia Stafford from The Alcohol Advertising Review Board has spoken about the concerns and brought about an interesting fact – there is actually not very much that they can do within their regulations to stop this happening Snapchat. While advertisements are directed at an older audience, there is still the issue of younger audiences who access Snapchat by pretending they are older than they are. This is something I’m familiar with, as I did end up signing up to Facebook before I was allowed, claiming I was 23 years old when I was really 13. (Weber, 2016)

This brings about the idea that no space or place online is safe from adult advertising, and social media sites that have ‘regulations’ in place to stop minors from accessing certain sites such as Snapchat and Facebook aren’t as strong as they could be – there are still concerns and anxieties regarding what people can and can’t see online.

REFERENCES:

Bennett, L. (2016). Alcohol ads ‘don’t belong’ on Snapchat or any social media – AdNews. [online] Adnews.com.au. Available at: http://www.adnews.com.au/news/alcohol-ads-don-t-belong-on-snapchat-or-any-social-media [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

Magid, L. (2012). Letting Children Under 13 On Facebook Could Make Them Safer. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymagid/2012/06/04/letting-children-under-13-on-facebook-could-make-them-safer/#18e8e32c5db0 [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

O’Keeffe, G. and Clarke-Pearson, K. (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. PEDIATRICS, 127(4), pp.800-804. Weber, L. (2016). How Social Networks Affect Underage Kids. [online] Our Everyday Life. Available at: http://oureverydaylife.com/social-networks-affect-underage-kids-11322.html [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

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