Congress Must Act to Address Social Media’s Impact on Teens

Written by PTC | Published November 7, 2023

LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2023) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) is calling on Congress to step up efforts to pass legislation to protect children online, as the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a Tuesday hearing on “Social Media and the Teen Mental Health Crisis.”

“There is no doubt that social media can be harmful to teens, and yet teens and their parents are up against the powerful tech industry and algorithms that deluge the user and offer no escape. This endless cycle must be broken. But the tech industry has been resistant to prioritize child protection, despite that companies like Meta know there are problems,” Melissa Henson, vice president, Parents Television and Media Council.

“The U.S. Surgeon General has warned about the mental health crisis of America’s youth and about the harm social media can have on them. There is no doubt that children are vulnerable to influences they see online, and the impact of that content can be life-threatening.

“Congress must step in here to ensure that tech prioritizes child safety. We urgently call on Congress to pass the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), designed to hold social media companies accountable and establish a duty of care for protecting children online, the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0), which expands privacy protections to teens and for children under age 13, the EARN IT Act, which would ensure that technology platforms protect children from child sexual abuse material, and other legislation that serves children and families instead of Big Tech interests,” Henson said.

In October 2023, Meta was sued by the District of Columbia and 41 states claiming its products are addictive and potentially harmful to children and their mental health.

In November 2022, PTC research revealed that Hollywood is marketing teen-targeted TV shows with explicit adult content to young teens through social media sites popular with 13-17-year-olds, thereby doing an end-run around parents.

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