Addressing Vulnerabilities: From China Dependency to Social Media Effects on Kids

Ben H.

Ben H.

Jun 28, 20233 min read

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Addressing Vulnerabilities: From China Dependency to Social Media Effects on Kids

President Biden has made it a priority to address the vulnerability of the United States' dependency on China in various sectors. This dependency has been a cause for concern, as it not only affects the country's economy but also its national security. To tackle this issue, Biden has focused on cultivating closer ties with India, which aims to become an alternative manufacturing base to China. Additionally, critical minerals deals have been negotiated with Europe, reducing the reliance on China as the main source of these resources.

While addressing the China dependency, it is also crucial to consider the impact of free trade on China's influence over the world's production networks. Some argue that free trade has actually increased China's influence rather than decreased it. This perspective highlights the need for a strategic approach to trade policies that not only promote economic growth but also safeguard national interests.

In a different realm, the effects of social media on children have become a growing concern for parents and experts alike. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, passed in 1998, was intended to protect children under the age of 13 from having their data collected and disseminated by companies. However, developers have used this age as a benchmark to allow children to create accounts on platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, especially if these platforms have an advertising component.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently issued an advisory on the effects of social media on adolescent mental health. He emphasized that early adolescence, a vulnerable stage of brain development, is an especially risky time for children to be exposed to social media. During this stage, kids are more susceptible to peer pressure, opinions, and comparison, which can have detrimental effects on their mental well-being.

Drawing parallels between these two seemingly unrelated issues, it becomes evident that addressing vulnerabilities and protecting the well-being of individuals, whether it be on a national or personal level, requires a proactive approach. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to consider:

  • 1. Diversify supply chains: Just as President Biden is seeking to cultivate closer ties with India as an alternative manufacturing base to China, individuals and businesses should also diversify their supply chains. Relying on a single source for essential goods or services can leave one vulnerable to disruptions or dependencies. Exploring options and building relationships with multiple suppliers can mitigate risks and increase resilience.
  • 2. Establish age restrictions for social media: While technological advancements have brought numerous benefits, it is essential to recognize the potential harm they can cause. Implementing stricter age restrictions for social media platforms, in line with the concerns raised by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, can help protect children during their vulnerable stages of development. This can be done through legislation, parental controls, and educational initiatives that promote responsible digital citizenship.
  • 3. Encourage critical thinking and media literacy: In an era where information is easily accessible, it is crucial to equip individuals, especially children, with the skills to critically evaluate and navigate the media landscape. By promoting media literacy and critical thinking, we can empower individuals to discern reliable sources, fact-check information, and develop a healthy skepticism towards potentially harmful content. This can be achieved through educational programs, workshops, and incorporating media literacy into school curricula.

In conclusion, addressing vulnerabilities in both global trade and social media requires a multifaceted approach. By diversifying supply chains, establishing age restrictions for social media, and promoting critical thinking and media literacy, we can mitigate risks and protect individuals from potential harm. Whether it is reducing dependency on a single country or safeguarding the well-being of children, proactive measures are essential in building resilience and ensuring a secure future.

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