New Bill Would Allow Parents to Sue if Kids Get Addicted to Social Media

Law would require social media companies to take responsibility for the effect their products have on children and teenagers

Has your kid become a slave to social media? A Facebook fiend? One Tweet away from a Twitter junkie? If you live in California, a new bill proposes that parents could sue social media companies for encouraging the addiction.

Assembly Bill No. 2408, also known as the Social Media Platform Duty to Children Act, introduced by Assemblymembers Jordan Cunningham (R-CA) and Buffy Wicks (D-CA), would make it possible to bring lawsuits or civil penalties against social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, ABC7 reports.

Under the bill, social platforms could find themselves liable if they “developed, designed, implemented, or maintained features that were known, or should have been known, by the platform to be addictive to child users.”

By age 11, 53 percent of U.S. children have their own smartphone. By age 12, 69 percent are in possession of such a device, according to a 2019 survey by Common Sense Media.

Those tender minds are going up against apps that use hardball techniques to keep them using, similar to some of the tactics employed to keep people gambling.

And say goodbye to doomscrolling. The bill would hold social media platforms “legally accountable for features that are designed to be addictive to children, such as ‘like’ buttons and endless scroll,” Time reports.

Social media addiction is widely acknowledged by psychologists and psychiatrists working in addiction, as well as scientists and researchers.

California is on the same page as Minnesota. The state currently has a proposal that would ban algorithms for kids under 18 in an effort to stop the negative effects of social media apps.

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