Getting Answers: legislation aimed at teen social media use
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A new advisory from the United States Surgeon General is warning of an urgent public health issue regarding teen social media use and their mental health after a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress that would ban kids under 13 years old from using social media.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for any child under the age of 13, maybe even a little bit older, to be on social media. I do agree that social media is a great place to meet people with similar interests and connect with family members that you don’t see often,” said Alyssa Archuleta.
Local parents spoke out Tuesday after a new advisory from the surgeon general warned that social media may be hazardous to kids’ mental health.
“If you’re under the age of 13, I don’t really see much benefits. Of course, I’ve read studies that it can relate to anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, etc.,” Archuleta added.
LEARN MORE: 8 tips for parents and teens on social media use — from the US surgeon general
The advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy cited several studies, which found correlations between social media and depression, anxiety, poor sleep, online harassment, and low self-esteem. He is calling for more research on the subject, as well as action by policy makers and technology companies.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have introduced a bipartisan bill that would ban kids under 13 years old from accessing social media and those between the ages of 13 and 17 would need parental consent to create an account. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Ed Markey said he supports Murthy’s advisory, which corresponds with his own legislative priorities. He wrote on social media: “the research is clear - young people are vulnerable online. Congress can’t waste any time in protecting them. We must pass COPPA 2.0 to create a kids and teens online privacy bill of rights.” That bill he is referring to is something he introduced in Congress a few weeks ago, which would “require a higher standard of data privacy for children to protect them from potential harms like exploitation and abuse.”
Parents told Western Mass News they support any type of legislation surrounding social media’s impact on mental health.
“I do think it should be talked about more, but I would support that kind of thing,” Archuleta said.
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