In an effort to protect children from the potential harms of social media, US lawmakers are considering new rules that would restrict how young people can use these platforms.
One bill, the “Protecting Kids on Social Media Act,” would bar platforms like TikTok, Snap, and Instagram from letting kids younger than 13 create accounts. It would also require platforms to get parental consent to open accounts for users under 18. The bill would also create a government-run age-verification system and bar social platforms from surfacing targeted content to minors.
The bill is supported by groups like the American Psychological Association, which has linked social media use to anxiety and depression in teens. However, critics say the bill would be difficult to enforce and could infringe on free speech rights.
Social media companies are also likely to fight the bill, as it could threaten their revenue. Half of US teens say they’re online “almost constantly,” and they’re the most engaged demographic on social media. Platforms make money by selling ads, and they’re more likely to show ads to users who are engaged with their content. If rules for minors reduce engagement, platforms could lose money.
It remains to be seen whether the bill will become law. However, it’s clear that lawmakers are taking the issue of social media use by minors seriously.
Here are some of the key points of the bill:
- It would bar platforms from letting kids younger than 13 create accounts.
- It would require platforms to get parental consent to open accounts for users under 18.
- It would create a government-run age-verification system.
- It would bar social platforms from surfacing targeted content to minors.
The bill is supported by:
- The American Psychological Association
- Dozens of US school districts
The bill is opposed by:
- Social media companies
- Some civil liberties groups
It remains to be seen whether the bill will become law.
Are you for or Against Rules for kids on Social Media?