AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bill filed by a North Texas lawmaker this week would ban social media for Texans under the age of 18.
HB 896, authored by Rep. Jared Patterson, of Frisco, would prohibit the use of social media by children. The bill was filed on Wednesday.
If passed, any Texan under the age of 18 would not be authorized to hold a social media account.
Further, social media companies would have to verify the age of the account holder, which would require the account holder to prove their age with their driver’s license. The bill doesn’t specify if an account holder can use an alternate form of I.D. if they don’t have a driver’s license.
Social media companies would also be required to remove a child’s account if a parent requests it be taken down within 10 days of the request. Platforms would also need to provide accessible means for parents to make such requests.
Impact of social media
Last year, the Wall Street Journal published a report on the negative impact of social media on teens’ mental health.
According to the report, researchers found that 32% of teen girls who felt bad about their bodies said Instagram made them feel worse. This data was posted to Facebook’s internal message boards.
Lawmakers began to take action by sending letters to Facebook after reports that Facebook’s leaders covered up data on the negative impact of its platforms.
Social media platforms have also been known to house threats against schools. In August, Dale Avant, chief of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, revealed that those types of threats are underreported.
Avant alluded to social media platforms not doing enough to let police know what’s going on.