Studies showed that children under 18 experience depression due to online use. Lawmakers hope to combat this issue in the great state of Texas. Rep. Jared Patterson (R-TX) has filed bill HB 896 that would ban social media for minors.
Patterson believes social media is like cigarette smoking before 1964. What was once considered harmless has been banned for children for decades. As research comes out, it is essential to take a stand, protecting children from the ill effects of social media too. “Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, social media access to minors has led to remarkable rises in self-harm, and mental health issues,” Patterson explained.
Greg Sindelar, CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, is grateful to Patterson for taking a stand for children by filing the law. Sindelar says the social media companies have demonstrated internal research that showed effects on children.
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The Texas Public Policy Foundation endorsed prohibiting social media access to minors. The foundation wished to prevent harm to children and future generations in Texas. “We are tremendously grateful for Rep. Jared Patterson’s leadership on keeping this precious population safe,” Sindelar said.
The new law would require age verification when signing up for social media sites. Further, the sites must use a photo ID. Parents could request the removal of their child’s account should the bill pass. Currently, social media platforms have an age requirement of 13 years old, but no proof or verification is required.
On Wednesday, Texas became one of the handfuls of states to ban TikTok from state employee and agency use due to concerns of foreign threats infiltrating U.S. systems through data sharing on the internet. Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska banned the popular app earlier this week. U.S. officials are concerned that the Chinese-owned company could share data it collects on users.
Although the TikTok ban is for government entities, it is the first step to getting rid of the platform in the U.S. In addition to the app’s effect on national security, TikTok is affecting children and teens in tremendous ways. Peer pressure to become “TikTok famous” runs rampant in the form of harmful trends.