New legislation put forward by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Katie Britt (R-Ala.) today would establish a minimum age for social media use and make tech companies get parents’ consent for teen accounts. The bill will do more to put government in control of parental decisions than to protect children, says Jessica Melugin, Director of CEI’s Center on Technology and Innovation:
“This bill sacrifices privacy for a false sense of safety. Parents should be just as concerned with the amount of verification personal information they and their children would have to hand over to prove a child’s age as they are with the social media concerns this bill erroneously claims to address.
“Progressives like Sen. Schatz are always interested in growing government, but conservatives like Sen. Cotton should understand that parents, not unelected government bureaucrats at the FTC or politician state attorneys general, are best-suited to make decisions for their children when it comes to morality, education and health – so why should social media be any different?
“Just like television, real world socialization, food choices and many other parental balancing acts, there is a right amount of social media for kids and teens. But that sweet spot is so varied depending on the child and the content, that only a parent should be trusted to choose wisely. The jury’s still out on the harm versus benefits of social media, but the case is closed on politicians and bureaucrats infringing on parental rights: it’s wrong on principle and it doesn’t work.”