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Protecting Kids on Social Media Act

Photo by Jack Forbes for Yahoo News

Mental Health Issues in Kids Correlated to Social Media

Mental health issues have risen in adolescents and are connected to social media use. In a longitudinal cohort study done in the U.S with adolescents aged 12-15, they found that “adolescents that spent more than 3 hours per day on social media faced double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes including symptoms of depression and anxiety”, NBC news stated. With this being a serious and ongoing problem, parents are concerned for their children's safety of media usage. A new federal bill, the “Protecting Kids on Social Media Act”, was passed on April 26th, 2023 and will help with this.

What Does the “Protecting Kids on Social Media Act” Do?

The bill will require parental consent on social media for kids aged 13 - 17 and will make platforms have to verify the age of the users before allowing them to create accounts. It also prevents social media companies from using personalized advertising or algorithms to users under 18. Accessing social media platforms in general will be harder as well for children under the age of 13. By adding these protections, social media can be a safer place with less harmful content.

Benefits from “Protecting Kids on Social Media Act”

Democratic Sen. Murphy said, “I see firsthand the damage that social media companies, 100% committed to addicting our children to their screens, are doing to our society.” The goal is to protect kids on platforms from going into rabbit holes of content that could be damaging to mental health and prevent media addictions. It also gives some control over the content that kids will be seeing on their platforms, creating a cautious environment.

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