Sen. Josh Hawley has introduced a bill to ban social media for children under 16

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has introduced a bill to ban social media for children under 16.

The bill, known as the Making Age-Verification Technology Uniform, Robust and Effective (Mature) Act, would require platforms to verify that a user is over 16 before allowing them to create an account.

To do so, users must provide their full legal name, date of birth and government-issued identification to verify their information.

“Children are affected by social media every day. After all, Big Tech companies are neglecting our children’s health and monetizing their personal information. At worst, they engage in their exploitation and manipulation. It is time to give parents the weapons they need to fight back,” Senator Hawley said in a statement.

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“It starts with an age restriction for social media,” the senator continued. “And it is long past time for well-funded research on the scale of the problem. We must set the precedent that these companies can no longer take advantage of our children.”

The law would hold social media companies accountable by creating an audit process and a private right of action.

Hawley also introduced a bill called the Federal Social Media Research Act, which would produce a report on the harms of social media and fully fund a longitudinal study to track the effects of social media on children over the age of 10.

The bill states, “Such studies shall specifically aim to assess any relationship between patterns of social media use and the following medical conditions: suicide, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and gender dysphoria.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary and Trends report: 2011-2021.

The study found that “about 57% of female students surveyed reported persistent feelings of sadness and depression, 25% planned suicide, and 10% attempted suicide in 2021. In 2011, 13% of boys and 19% of girls said they had seriously considered suicide. done. In 2021, 14% of boys and 30% of girls expressed the same sentiment.”