Through Dove’s Self Esteem Project –– an ongoing confidence-building youth initiative –– the popular beauty brand is partnering with famed performer Lizzo and children-first organizations Common Sense Media and ParentsTogether Action to advance legislation around social media safety for kids.
“While social media can be a force for good, it is also one of the biggest threats to young people’s mental health today,” reads a recent statement by Dove.
According to statistics from Dove’s 2023 study surrounding kids’ online safety, 80% of young people believe their peers are addicted to social media, while half report that social media makes them anxious.
Furthermore, 70% of 10- to-17-year-olds have reported being exposed to weight loss/body transformation content on social media, and 58% of American parents believe the only way to get social media platforms to change is to implement legislation in the space.
Dove does not believe that bipartisan efforts to advance legislation aimed at protecting kids' exposure to harmful content and addictive algorithms have made enough progress to protect kids and teens. With help from Lizzo, Common Sense Media and ParentsTogether Action, the company is focused on advancing the 2023 Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), which supports updated design standards, safeguards and tools intended to protect kids' overall experiences online.
If the bill passes, it will limit kids’ exposure to toxic beauty content through disabling addictive product features and algorithmic recommendations, requiring platforms to perform annual independent audit assessments around risks to minors, and provide experts with access to specific data that fosters research regarding harms to the safety and well-being of minors.
“Over the past decade, we have witnessed a youth mental health crisis — skyrocketing suicide rates, hospitalizations for self-harm, and depression among children and teens,” says Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. “Real change requires partnership, advocacy, and a commitment to do the work on the ground.”
On Tuesday, Dove hosted a live forum in Los Angeles broadcast on Dove’s YouTube channel, as well as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, where Steyer, Lizzo, digital media expert Safiya U. Noble and Stanford psychiatrist and social design expert Nina Vasan spoke about the issue.
“Social media is supposed to be a place where people can express themselves and be a source for beauty confidence, not anxiety, that's why I'm partnering with Dove again and calling on platforms to do more to make social media safe for young people,” Lizzo says. “Seeing the negative impact social media is having on youth mental health today is devastating and has to stop.”
In addition to the campaign for kids’ online safety, Dove released a film entitled “Cost of Beauty” that chronicles the real stories of a young person dealing with mental health issues as a result of social media use.