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New York Targets ‘Addictive’ Social Media In New Bills

Photo from dole777 via Unsplash

New York Targets ‘Addictive’ Social Media In New Bills

By Movieguide® Contributor

As big tech has targeted children with increasingly addictive products through the years, New York lawmakers are now striking back by introducing legislation that would make social media less addictive.

The bills, introduced earlier this month, would make it illegal for social media platforms to collect data on children or to bombard them with “addictive” feeds using accounts they don’t follow.

“Young New Yorkers are struggling with record levels of anxiety and depression and social media companies that use addictive features to keep minors on their platforms longer are largely to blame,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. “This legislation will help tackle the risks of social media affecting our children and protect their privacy.”

The legislation aims to protect children from endless scrolling, which is detrimental to their mental health and development. Two bills have been introduced for this purpose.

The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act would allow parents to turn off an algorithmically curated feed – perhaps the most potent feature in a platform’s addictiveness. Platforms like YouTube and TikTok pride themselves on their algorithms and would certainly fight this legislature if it were to pass.

Instead, children’s social media feeds would appear as a chronological timeline of the content they already follow.

The second bill, the New York Child Data Protection Act, would make it illegal for all online sites to collect or share the personal data of anyone under 18 unless informed consent has been obtained.

Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, has already begun fighting this bill, claiming that their on-site parental tools are sufficient to protect children’s online experience.

“We refer to research, feedback from parents, teens, experts, and academics to inform our approach,” Meta’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis, said. “We’ll continue evaluating proposed legislation and working with policymakers on developing simple, easy solutions for parents on these important industrywide issues.”

New York’s confrontation of the problem of social media mirrors that of Europe, which has begun protecting children from addictive technology.

The EU passed The Digital Services Act in August, allowing Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat users to turn off the algorithm and only receive posts from accounts they follow in a chronological feed.

Protections like these are necessary as social media’s addictiveness has plagued young people for many years. Technology’s hold on society is especially alarming as more studies reveal its negative effects of prolonged, extensive use.

Movieguide® previously reported:

A new study found a link between a baby’s screen time and delayed development in communication, fine motor skills and problem-solving.

Japanese researchers studied 7,000 babies that were 1 year old to better understand how a baby’s screen time affects their brain’s development.

“The more screen time these babies had at 1 year of age, the worse their developmental milestones were at 2 years of age, particularly in the realm of communication,” ABC News’ chief health and medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton told Good Morning America. “Some of those developmental issues, like fine and gross motor skills and problem-solving skills, may have shown a ding at age 2 but then kind of compensated and recovered by age four.”

Fox News reported, “Those who spent four or more hours on their devices were 5.78 times more likely to experience the same delays as they got older. They were also 1.74 times more likely to have underdeveloped fine motor skills and two times more likely to have not properly developed their personal and social skills.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.