State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Great Neck) is proposing legislation that would require social media companies to obtain parental permission for minors to create social media accounts.
The purpose of the legislation is to grant parents more options to monitor their child’s social media usage, such as platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, “and shield them from the dark side of social media,” he said in a press release.
“As a father of four daughters, I’m very concerned about the growing trend of social media and the detrimental impact it has on children and minors under the age of 18,” Martins said.
The bill would require parental consent for a minor to use a social media platform from 10:30 p.m. – 6:30 a.m., with the social media company responsible for implementing the requirement. It would also require the social media company to provide parental access to their child’s posts and messages on the applications.
The New York Attorney General’s Office would be able to prosecute social media companies that are not compliant. Companies would potentially face a fine upwards of $25,000 for not obtaining parental consent. Parents would also be able to seek out private lawsuits against social media companies for such violations.
While the senator acknowledged that social media can be beneficial to young people, he said there are studies that show its negative effects as well, including peer pressure, bullying, depression, anxiety and suicide.
“Our children and young adults need to be separated from constant and lengthy visits to social media sites in order to prevent depression and such,” Martins stated. “The main concept of the proposal is to put “children’s safety” first by limiting bullying, hate speech and the spread of online misinformation, which can potentially cause harmful effects on minors.”
The press release referenced a statement made by U.S. Attorney General Vivek Murthy, who cite the negative effects of social media use by minors.
“While social media may offer some benefits… there are ample indicators that social media can also pose a risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents,” Vurthy stated.
He said that 95% of minors aged 13-17 reported using social media and more than a third reported using social media almost constantly.
Martins has introduced the bill which is currently being reviewed by the Internet And Technology Committee. It has not been voted on yet and it is unknown when it would be.