The testimony on Tuesday from Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower, about how Facebook and Instagram can be addictive and harmful to children, set off anger among parents online.
Some parents questioned their own complicity in allowing their young children to have social media accounts. Others blamed the platforms for harmful content.
Some Twitter users wrote that they had seen firsthand how social media platforms like Instagram had led to body image issues for their children and to bullying. Many said they were not surprised by some of Ms. Haugen’s revelations and had suspected that social media was bad for teenagers all along.
Others said they were rethinking allowing their children to create social media accounts and to interact with others online, often unattended, at a young age. Facebook was not concerned with the well-being of children, some argued, so the onus was on parents to protect their children.
One Twitter user, Joe Pratt, wrote that there was “no question” Facebook and Instagram “cause harm to teenagers.”
“My daughter is 12, she is not on these apps. Parents seriously, don’t let your kids on these apps,” he wrote. Mr. Pratt confirmed with The New York Times that he is a parent.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat of Connecticut who leads the subcommittee that questioned Ms. Haugen, also shared the experience of a parent who lives in his state.
“I’m in tears right now watching your interaction with Frances Haugen,” Mr. Blumenthal said during the hearing, quoting his constituent, who had sent him a text message. “My 15-year-old daughter loved her body at 14. Was on Instagram constantly and maybe posting too much. Suddenly she started hating her body and her body dysmorphia, now anorexia, and was in deep, deep trouble before we found treatment. I fear she will never be the same.”