Lawmakers unveil bill that would establish minimum age for social media use
A new federal bill would establish a national minimum age for social media use.
A bipartisan group of senators unveiled the legislation this week that would establish 13 as the national minimum age for social media use. The legislation also creates strict standards for verifying a user's age.
"Making young people feel the very ways that we as parents and as a society don't want them to feel is built into the business model," said Sen. Brian Schatz, of Hawaii.
The proposed bill also requires parental consent for users aged 13 to 17. The bill also bans tech platforms from using teens' personal information to target them with content or advertising.
"Social media companies have a duty to help keep kids safe and parents informed or face serious consequences," says Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
Lawmakers say the legislation is in line with guidance from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
"The skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children," Murthy says.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is working on a separate bill to address the problem and says he has concerns about this version. Tech accountability advocates agree the bill is focused on the wrong issue.
"This bill doesn't actually put any responsibility onto the tech companies. Instead, it's putting more responsibility onto parents and young people to kind of self-police," says Accountable Tech executive director Nicole Gill. She argues laws should incentivize tech companies to redesign their platforms to protect mental health and privacy.
"We have an opportunity right now to rethink the way that these platforms work for young people, and we should take it," Gill adds.