Texas Legislation Could Restrict Social Media Use for Minors

Photo courtesy of Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Texas Legislation Could Restrict Social Media Use for Minors

By Movieguide® Staff

Texas State Rep. Jared Patterson (R) recently proposed a new bill that would ban anyone below the age of 18 from using social media.

The legislation is in an effort to help combat high statistics in depression and anxiety from minors and could soon go to voting.

“Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, social media access to minors has led to remarkable rises in self-harm, suicide, and mental health issues,” Patterson said, according to KDFW-TV.

“The Texas legislature must act this session to protect children because, thus far, the social media platforms have failed to do so. HB S76 is a solution to this crisis,” the legislation reads.

Greg Sindelar, CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, backed the aggressive legislation noting that the harmful effects that social media has on minors are “demonstrable not just in the internal research from the very social media companies that create these addictive products, but in the skyrocketing depression, anxiety, and even suicide rates we are seeing afflict children.”

“We are tremendously grateful for Rep. Jared Patterson’s leadership on keeping this precious population safe,” Sindelar added. “And [the] TPPF is fully supportive of prohibiting social media access to minors to prevent the perpetual harms of social media from devastating the next generation of Texans.”

If the bill is signed, social media apps and sites would have to require age verification for users via photo identification. The law would also give parents the right to request the removal of any account created by their child.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently signed a bill that would ban TikTok from state-owned devices due to its connection to China.

“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where, and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” Abbott wrote of the bill.

A TikTok representative said: “We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, empower parents with tools and resources, and continue to invest in new ways to enjoy content based on age-appropriateness or family comfort. We are also confident that we’re on a path in our negotiations with the U.S. government to fully satisfy all reasonable U.S. national security concerns, and we have already made significant strides toward implementing those solutions.”

Unfortunately, TikTok has yet to back up their claim. In the past couple of years, the company came under fire after several lawsuits cited sexual abuse of minors and exploitation on the site.

Movieguide® previously reported:

Several state attorneys general recently launched an investigation into the video-sharing app TikTok and its alleged connection to users’ poor mental health.

California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont led the investigation after a recent concern over the harmful effects of social media on young users and a lack of accountability of major tech companies.

“Our children are growing up in the age of social media — and many feel like they need to measure up to the filtered versions of reality that they see on their screens,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a news release. “We know this takes a devastating toll on children’s mental health and well-being.”

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