FTC's Unconventional Move: Child Psychologists Join the Battle for Safer Internet

In an unexpected turn of events, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to recruit child psychologists to its roster. Yes, you read that correctly: the FTC wants to hire child psychologists to help them navigate the choppy waters of internet regulation. It's as if they've realized that understanding children's thinking is the key to solving the internet's problems.

Alvaro Bedoya, a Democratic Commissioner, revealed this unusual plan. He stated that the FTC plans to hire at least one child psychologist to help guide their efforts in internet regulation. You may be asking why a federal agency charged with protecting consumers and promoting competition is so interested in people's thoughts.

FTC Chair Lina Khan supports this unconventional strategy. The goal is to have this child psychologist, or possibly more, on board by next fall. However, the FTC still needs a definite timeframe for this unusual hiring binge. Perhaps they're waiting for the stars to align or for the child psychologists to finish their game of hide-and-seek.

But what will these child psychologists be doing at the FTC? According to Douglas Farrar, an FTC representative, their role will be to assist the agency in assessing the mental health consequences of what children and young people do online. In other words, they're here to determine how the internet interferes with our minds. And we thought internet regulation was all about privacy and data protection.

The FTC's action is part of a bigger trend in the United States government to focus on online protections for children and teens. Legislators at federal and state levels have proposed legislation to make the internet safer for children.

These ideas include stricter age verification and more accountability for internet businesses in building safe products for underage users. In May, the United States Surgeon General issued a warning, claiming that young people's social media usage is causing major mental health problems. As a result, Uncle Sam is concerned about the well-being of the younger generation in the digital age.

Alvaro Bedoya, a privacy and technology enthusiast, established the Georgetown University Law Center's Center on Privacy and Technology. He is enthusiastic about this approach and believes it is consistent with the FTC's objective to be an "expert agency." The organization has previously added economists and technologists to its ranks, and now it is time for child psychologists to enter the fray.

Bedoya is overjoyed to have an in-house child psychologist. He points out that he may consult with 80 Ph.D. economists if he has an economic question. But he's on his own, with no full-time experts to turn to when it comes to mental health. Bedoya is attempting to balance the FTC's expertise scale, ensuring they have someone who can grasp the intricacies of the youthful mind.

While the FTC might seek guidance from consultants before, having a child psychologist on staff sends a strong statement: we're serious about knowing how the internet affects children, and we've got the experts right here, it says. This in-house expertise could connect internet-related issues with their potential impact, influencing the FTC's actions and penalties.

According to Bedoya, child psychologists could help analyze claims concerning the impact of social media on mental health. They could also aid in determining the effects of dark patterns and other cunning features used by tech businesses to keep us browsing and clicking.

In a word, the FTC is ready to plunge headfirst into the area of child psychology to make the internet a safer environment for young brains. Who would have guessed that child psychologists would be the most recent recruits in the fight for online safety? It's an intriguing development; only time will tell if it's the proper step to protect the younger generation in the digital age.

Understanding Young Minds: FTC To Recruit Child Psychologists to Tackle Online Safety

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