Home » Legislation to Protect Youth Online Passes the Senate

Legislation to Protect Youth Online Passes the Senate

Press Release

by CC News
Social Media

SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Bonta issued the following statement after Senate Bill 976 (SB 976) Protecting Our Kids from Social Media Addiction Act passed the Senate.

SB 976, sponsored by Attorney General Bonta and authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), would limit the harms associated with social media addiction. This marks an important continuation of Attorney General Bonta’s commitment to improving child safety online.

“SB 976 puts control back in the hands of parents and children. Our children and teens are experiencing a public health crisis, caused by social media companies in their thirst for profits,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In California, we take mental health seriously, we take children’s online safety seriously — and we know that we don’t have a minute to waste to protect our kids. In California, we move fast and fix things.”

SB 976, co-sponsored by Public Health Advocates and the Association of California School Administrators, takes steps to protect young users from online addiction.

First, SB 976 would give parents the choice of whether users under the age of 18 would receive a chronological feed from users they already follow or the current default on addictive social media platforms, an algorithmic feed. Algorithmic feeds fuel harmful and addictive use of the platforms and heavy social media use can cause mental health harms to young users.

Second, the bill would prohibit social media platforms from sending notifications between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. to users under age 18, unless a parent or guardian has provided consent. Third, SB 976 expands parental controls by requiring social media platforms to provide parents the ability to establish certain protections that will be turned on by default, including the ability to halt notifications and to block access to platforms for minors during nighttime hours and during the school day.

Here is the press conference from January:

Previous story:

Per per that press release:

Over the years, companies have purposely designed their platforms to addict users to increase profits. Research also shows that youth are particularly susceptible to psychologically manipulative algorithms that induce young users to compulsively spend time on platforms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children in the U.S. spend between 6 to 14 hours per day in front of a screen, with much of that time viewing social media content.

Companies keep youth addicted with features such as notifications to their phones, tablets or laptops that lure kids back to the platform or app at all hours of the day. And research has linked addiction among youth with higher rates of depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, and low self-esteem.

To date, New York is the only other state to introduce legislation similar to SB 976. With “Protecting Our Kids from Social Media Addiction,” online platforms and apps would be barred from sending any addictive social media feed to youth without the consent of a parent or guardian. In addition, social media companies would be prohibited from sending notifications to youth from midnight to 6 a.m., and on school days from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., without parental consent.

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1 comment

Mike Honcho May 21, 2024 - 8:38 am

They’ll pass a bill to prevent youth harm from social media but won’t imprison “doctors” for permanently mutilating confused children’s reproductive organs? Seem legit.

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