Alabama Senator Supports Social Media Ban


Thomas Sigler, graphic artist

Abby Neely, Contributor

“Enough is enough… The time to act is now.”

Alabama senator Katie Britt, along with three other senators, introduced a bill that would ban social media for children under thirteen and require parental permission for those under eighteen. Internet safety for kids has been the topic of several proposals in Congress, and these senators say they are representative of millions of parents across the country who just want their kids to be safe.

The bipartisan group recognizes the upsides to social media, such as “connection during the coronavirus pandemic” and “silly videos that bring [kids] joy.” They also see the effects that the dark sides of media can have on children, and they can’t in good conscience allow kids to be sucked into something so harmful for them. Schatz, the senator that first brought the group of four together, says, “The idea that an algorithm has some sort of First Amendment right to get into your kid’s brain is preposterous… and the idea that a 13-year-old has some First Amendment right to have an algorithm shove upsetting content down their throat is also preposterous.” These senators want to solve the growing mental health crisis that sparked after the pandemic, and they believe that social media is a big cause of depression and anxiety in teens. Data recently published by the CDC states that “60% of teen girls reported feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness, and 30% said they seriously considered attempting suicide.”

Despite the growing evidence against social media, any legislation is having a hard time getting past Congress. Not only is it hard to place limits on big companies because of their endless amounts of influence over the public and their immense amounts of money, but it’s also nearly impossible for Congress to agree on a legislation that would solve these issues. While they can identify all sorts of problems, they cannot agree on a way to solve them. Carl Szabo, a member of the advocacy group NetChoice, states, “Being a parent in the twenty-first century is hard, but inserting the government between parents and their teens is the wrong approach.” Opposition of this specific legislation says that using the government as a way to prevent children from being on social media isn’t the right way to help children. 

Whether this specific legislation becomes law or not, there seems to be a general consensus that social media can harm children and teenagers.