Sen. Schatz Social Media Bill Will Set Age Restriction To 13 And Above


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U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, has introduced a bipartisan bill to set a minimum age limit for social media use at 13. Schatz’s social media bill, named the Kids Off Social Media Act, seeks to mitigate the social media effects on children and teens.

Co-introduced with Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Katie Britt (R-Ala.), the bill revises Schatz’s previous attempts to regulate the digital environment for minors. It responds to increasing concerns among parents about the psychological effects of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok on children.

In a statement, Senator Schatz highlighted the urgency of addressing what he described as an “urgent health crisis” related to children’s use of various platforms and social media effects on mental health. “The growing evidence is clear: social media is making kids more depressed, more anxious, and more suicidal,” Schatz stated.

The legislation would impose social media age restrictions and would prohibit children under 13 from creating or maintaining social media accounts. It also aims to protect teenagers by banning companies targeting users under 17 with algorithmically personalized content. Further, the bill would empower the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to enforce these regulations.

Senator Cruz emphasized the support from parents who worry about social media addiction and the anxiety-inducing nature of social media. “Every parent with a young child or a teenager either worries about or knows first-hand the real harms and dangers of addictive and anxiety-inducing social media,” said Cruz.

A survey from Count on Mothers bolsters support for the bill, finding that over 90% of mothers believe the social media age limit should be 13. Additionally, the legislation will follow the Children’s Internet Protection Act framework, requiring schools to block and filter social media access on federally funded networks.

Public Citizen’s executive vice president, Lisa Gilbert, called the bill a “commonsense measure” that addresses the significant challenges posed by social media to the mental health of young individuals. Gilbert highlighted the importance of protecting the identity and self-worth of children and teens, who are particularly vulnerable to the pressures of digital interaction.

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