Should kids have limited access to social media? That’s a question getting tossed around in Congress after a couple of senators proposed legislation banning kids under 13 years old from joining social media platforms.
In this bill, known as the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, kids younger than 13 cannot create accounts or interact with other users, but kids could still be allowed to view content without logging into an account.
Kids younger than 18 would have to get their parent’s consent before creating a new account.
Senators on both sides of the aisle say this legislation helps to protect kids from social media harms.
“As adults, how many of you have struggled with what someone has posted on social media or what someone has said or what someone has done?,” said Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL). “We have to take a step back, and as parents say, ‘How can we protect our children, teach them how to use this tool, to use it for good, and to be intentional in doing that?'”
“Kids would still be permitted to get on social media,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). “It would just be the social media that we remember about ten years ago where you could post a picture of your dog or your birthday cake or your grandma and share a little bit about what’s happening in your life, and your friends would see that. Now, that’s not without its own set of issues which could impact kids. But it’s the algorithm that predicts with great accuracy and with an incredible, relentlessness how you will be engaged on the site.”
Senators for this legislation say social media sites collect information on people and use algorithms to keep kids engaged on the platforms. The FTC and the state Attorney Generals office would enforce this legislation.
It’s unclear if this proposal will pass each chamber, but this is the latest attempt of members scrutinizing social media and tech companies.