FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 25, 2024
Contact: Jennifer Easton, 615-741-5760
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Rep. Jake McCalmon, R-Franklin, has filed legislation in partnership with Gov. Bill Lee’s administration that helps restore parental authority on social media platforms by requiring online companies to verify ages of account holders.
The proposal, Protecting Children from Social Media Act, requires social media companies to verify parental consent for minors who wish to become account holders. It gives parents a high level of access to supervise their child’s online interactions as well as the ability to revoke consent.
“Social media has hurt a generation of young people by exposing them to unhealthy content and dangerous interactions with strangers online. They have become victims of companies who have deliberately targeted them for profit through addictive algorithms designed to maximize the amount of time kids use them,” McCalmon said.
“This bill applies meaningful safeguards to protect children but ensures parents are the only decision-makers when it comes to who communicates with their children online.”
House Bill 1891 would require social media companies to provide privacy monitoring tools and control daily usage, scheduled breaks, and parent notifications. It directs the Tennessee Attorney General’s office, specifically the Division of Consumer Protection, to enforce the law and handle complaints.
U.S. Surgeon General in 2023 released an advisory warning to the public about the “profound risk of harm” social media use has on young people. The advisory cites several studies and includes a review of available evidence and further studies noting social media use is up 95% among minors ages 13-17, with more than a third saying they used social media “almost constantly.” Although age 13 is commonly the required minimum age used by social media platforms in the United States, nearly 40% of children ages 8–12 use social media.
Similar legislation requiring age verification on social media sites has passed in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Utah.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://tnhousegop.org/state-rep-jake-mccalmon-introduces-protecting-children-from-social-media-act/