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Britt continues vocalizing need for social media age restrictions

Britt spoke on the importance of the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act after the surgeon general said need for warnings.

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On Thursday, U.S. Senator Katie Britt spoke about the importance of keeping children under 13 off social media in an interview with Will Cain. 

Last year, Britt cosponsored a bipartisan bill to address parents’ growing concerns about their children using social media platforms. 

The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act would require social media users to be at least 13 years old and receive parental consent until the age of 17. The bill would also prevent social media companies from utilizing algorithms for users under 18.

Recently, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called for a tobacco-style warning label on social media platforms to raise awareness of the possible mental health harms in adolescents. Without the power to issue these warnings, Murthy can only plead to Congress, which has brought more attention to the legislation.

Britt also noted that those who have cosponsored the bill are coming together not as Democrats and Republicans, but as concerned parents who feel they have a responsibility to do more for their children. 

“As a mom, nothing is more important to me than preserving the next generation’s opportunity to live the American Dream. Unfortunately, that Dream is turning into a nightmare for families across our country. This bill is a bold, critical step to protect our kids, secure their future and empower parents,” Britt said in the initial bill introduction. 

Since the bill has not been passed, Britt also references the Wait Until Eighth pledge that encourages parents to withhold smartphones from their children until the end of eighth grade. 

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Britt also noted the responsibility that schools that receive federal funding have an obligation to keep children off of social media while in the classroom as well. Codifying an age restriction holds liability implications, as failing to uphold bill standards would be treated as a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act and subject to civil actions by states.

The CDC reported that last year one in three high school-age girls considered taking their own life and nine percent of high schoolers attempted. Britt believes that the rise in mental health crises among teenagers directly coincides with the growing popularity of social media.

“That is not okay, this is an emergency and we need to be acting now,” Britt said.

Mary Claire is a reporting intern.

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