A Texas Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that will ban children living in the state from using social media.
State Representative Jared Patterson recently proposed HB 896, that requires social media users to be at least 18 years of age to have an account on the apps.
“Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, social media access to minors has led to remarkable rises in self-harm, suicide, and mental health issues,” Patterson said.
A lot of social media apps require users to be at least 13 years old to open an account. However, the apps do not have an age verification process to ensure the user is truly 13 years old or older.
Nevertheless, if Patterson’s bill is passed, it will require the social media apps to verify the user’s age with a picture ID. The bill will also allow parents to send in requests to have their child’s account deactivated. The apps will have up to 10 days to remove the account.
The CEO of Texas Public Policy Foundation, Greg Sindelar, praised Patterson for the bill and “keeping this precious population safe.”
“The harms social media poses to minors are demonstrable not just in the internal research from the very social media companies that create these addictive products, but in the skyrocketing depression, anxiety, and even suicide rates we are seeing afflict children,” Sindelar said.
He continued, “We are tremendously grateful for Rep. Jared Patterson’s leadership on keeping this precious population safe, and TPPF is fully supportive of prohibiting social media access to minors to prevent the perpetual harms of social media from devastating the next generation of Texans.”