(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) Jared Patterson, a GOP lawmaker and a state representative from Denton County, Texas, introduced a bill HB 896 that would ban Texas minors from having social media accounts, according to the Post Millennial.
On Wednesday, Patterson tweeted that he is “making good on promise earlier this year” which was to “protect children from the harms of social media.”
“HB 896 would prohibit minors from obtaining social media accounts in Texas,” the press release stated.
“Specifically, this legislation seeks to limit social media usage to profile accounts 18 and older, requires profiles to utilize photo identification as a means of age verification, allows parents the opportunity to request account removal of their child and grants enforcement of deceptive trade practices to the Office of the Attorney General if violated.”
Statistics show that suicide rates for minors were on the decline in the country until 2008 but saw an 18.8 percent increase every year — between 2009 and 2015 — among girls 10 to 14 years of age, Patterson’s office noted. People between the ages of 10 and 24 committed suicide at a 47.1 percent increase in a similar time period.
“Social media is the pre-1964 cigarette,” Patterson stated. “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.”
Instagram and Facebook, both owned by Meta, have a 13-year-old minimum age requirement but do not verify the age information provided whatsoever.
To solve this problem, the bill would require adding a verification component by mandating minors confirm their age by proving a photo ID.
“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,” the CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation Greg Sindelar said in his statement.
“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.”
Right now, no social media company currently acknowledges parental rights in the user accounts of minors. To solve this problem, HB 896 would require them to remove a minor’s profile if a parent made such a request. To execute that, they will be given 10 days.