Texas’ state legislator has proposed legislation to ban social media use by children under 18 years old in an effort to reduce depression and other negative effects of online usage.
North Texas Republican State Rep. Jared Patterson filed bill HB896, which would require that people at least 18 years of age sign up for a social media platform.
Patterson likened social media to cigarettes. Although they were once thought to be harmless, they are now illegal for children.
He explained that while social media was once considered to be completely safe, it has been shown to have led to remarkable increases in suicide, self-harm and mental health problems.
Greg Sindelar CEO of Texas Public Policy Foundation praised Patterson for drafting the law.
Sindelar stated that social media has shown the harms it causes to minors. This is not only evident in the research conducted by the social media companies who create these addictive products but also in the rising suicide, depression and anxiety rates among children.
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“We are extremely grateful for Rep. Jared Patterson’s leadership in keeping this precious population secure,” he said. “TPPF fully supports prohibiting social media access by minors to stop the perpetual harms that social media can cause to the next generation of Texans.”
Social media platforms would be required to verify an individual’s age using photo identification. Parents would be able to request that their child’s account is deleted.
Social media sites generally require that children be at least 13 years of age, but don’t require proof.
Texas was the third state to ban TikTok by its state employees. This is due to concerns about Chinese spying. Maryland and South Dakota are the other states that have banned TikTok.