There was a dramatic moment in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
The leader of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, apologized to parents who say their children were victims of online abuse during a U.S. Senate hearing about online child safety.
One of the mothers there was from Enfield.
“We miss her so much, that spirit, that smile,” said Tammy Rodriguez of Enfield.
Rodriguez is holding onto memories of her daughter Selena.
The 11-year-old took her life in 2021 amid, what her family says was, an addiction to social media.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez attended the U.S. Senate hearing about online child safety with other parents who say their children were harmed by social media.
“Look at all those parents all holding their pictures. It broke my heart to know that that’s how many kids have been lost in that one room. How many in the world have been lost because of social media?” said Rodriguez.
Those parents heard directly from social media company executives.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was encouraged by a senator to apologize directly to families.
Zuckerberg says it’s terrible what they’ve gone through and he’s working on “…industry-wide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer.”
But the apology fell flat for some, including Rodriguez.
“He looked at me. He looked at my daughter’s picture. And nothing. I don’t feel like he has emotion in general,” said Rodriguez.
The tech leaders say they are stepping up measures to protect users, working with law enforcement and using AI to find harmful content.
Many think it’s not enough.
“The public and particularly the parents in this room know that we can no longer rely on social media to provide the safeguards that children and parents deserve,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Parents, including Rodriguez, are suing some companies and lawmakers are working on several measures to protect kids.
Senator Blumenthal is co-sponsoring an act that among the tools would give parents more supervision of their kids online.