A group of senators from both the main Democratic and Republican parties have introduced a new bill to Congress aimed at protecting young people from aspects of social media that they say are causing a mental health crisis in young Americans.
This action is one of the first major bipartisan efforts in the US Congress to restrict platforms for minors.
The bill for the protection of children in social media defines the minimum age of users of these media as 13 years. Parental consent will be required for teens between 13 and 18 years old, and platforms will be prohibited from using algorithms to recommend content to these young users.
According to NPR, according to this plan, adults must create accounts for their teenagers and provide a valid form of identification in order to become a user on a platform.
According to this report, based on the said bill, people under 13 years of age are still allowed to see content on social media sites as long as there is no need to log in to a user account.
Four American legislators, consisting of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Kathy Britt, along with Democratic Senators Brian Schatz and Chris Murphy, who believe that the mental health crisis in the United States is more common among teenagers, especially girls, are supporters of this bill, which was passed on Wednesday. It was raised in Congress on April 26.
According to Schatz, “the business model of these apps is simple, the amount of time a user spends in the app and the amount of interaction with its content is directly related to ad revenue.” He further argued that companies want users to spend a lot of time on platforms, but the results can be disastrous.
According to a recent Pew Research study, most American teenagers say they use social media platforms like YouTube at least once a day, and the rest admit to using them almost constantly. More than half of the teens who participated in the survey said it was hard for them not to use social media.
Tom Cotton believes the new law will put parents back in control of what children experience online. In this regard, Schatz said: “The increasing evidence is clear; Social media makes children more depressed and destroys their mental health. “While children suffer, social media companies profit.” He emphasized that this should be stopped.
These senators pointed to the disturbing results of a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, according to which 42 percent of high school students studied experienced feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year. Twenty-two percent of them seriously thought about suicide, and one out of four young women had even planned how to do it.