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Volume 24 Issue 3

Jun 2023 | Health | 0 comments

Protecting Kids on Social Media Act: A Bipartisan Endeavor

Health | 0 comments

June 2023

NATION – In an era of political polarization, a group of senators has joined forces in an effort to protect children online. As technology continues to advance and the digital world becomes increasingly pervasive in our lives, protecting our youngest users has become a priority for lawmakers.

Details of the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act

In response to increasing concerns over the influence social media has on children, four senators have proposed the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act of 2023. If this bill is passed, children under the age of 13 would be prohibited from using social media platforms unless their guardian provides consent. However, the efficacy of age verification is still a significant problem. The efficacy of age verification, or lack thereof, leads to questions from the opposition over the bill’s ability to protect our younger users from the dangers of social media.

Provisions and Politicians Behind the Act

What does the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act entail? This bipartisan Senate bill, introduced by Democratic Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Chris Murphy of Connecticut along with Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Katie Britt of Alabama, aims to restrict access to social media platforms for children under the age of 13. Under Section 3, the bill’s provisions include social media platforms being required to use reasonable steps beyond requiring a date of birth to verify the age of account holders.

Age Verification and the Role of Tech Industry

The technology industry is interested in limiting restrictions on accessing social media platforms so as to maximize the audience they will be able to reach. On the other hand, policymakers and parents are interested in increasing restrictions on technology, especially for those of a younger age. Both policymakers and parents argue that a lack of restrictions on technology leads to safety issues, including mental and physical safety, therefore this bill is essential in developing positive change. Moreover, there is an immediate need for stricter restrictions.

Age Verification Hurdles and AI Advancements

The Efficacy of Age Verification: Although the bill plans to ensure the safety of children online, the efficacy of age verification remains a hindrance. According to the Wall Street Journal, age verification has been difficult for websites to effectively implement. The most common method for verifying someone’s age is asking them to check a box stating they are 18 years of age or older (Snow, 2022).

The Future of the Act: Balance, Resistance and Collaboration

As the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act continues to move forward, senators must carefully balance children’s safety along with concerns about privacy and limitations on technology. Since age verification is a critical component of the bill, its efficacy will determine the success of the bill in achieving its purpose. The support of parents and advocacy groups will be crucial in overcoming the tech lobby’s resistance to limiting social media access for younger children.

Conclusion: Ensuring Safety in the Digital Era

Overall, the bipartisan support behind the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act expresses the significance of prioritizing the safety of children in this new digital era. This bill has the opportunity to produce meaningful change in regard to protecting online safety. Currently, the bill is waiting to be voted on by the senate and is predicted to pass. If passed, the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act will take into effect a year after it is enacted.

By Christina Orti
(Dr. Ortiz is a professional psychologist working out of Los Angeles)

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