The Impact of New York’s Social Media Legislation on Children

The Impact of New York’s Social Media Legislation on Children

The recent passage of legislation in New York to restrict social media from exposing addictive content to users under the age of 18 without parental consent marks an important step in addressing the risks that children face . The bills are aimed at curbing the negative impact of excessive social media use on adolescent mental health, including depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. The legislation also seeks to protect the personal data of underage users from being collected and sold by online sites.

Companies such as Meta Platforms, which own popular platforms like Facebook and , may experience a decline in as a result of the new legislation. The bills have been criticized by associations like NetChoice, who view them as an infringement on free speech and the open internet. However, Meta has expressed some support for the legislation, acknowledging the need for accountability in app stores.

Under the SAFE for Act, social media users under the age of 18 will be required to obtain parental consent before accessing “addictive” feeds. These feeds are defined as content delivered by algorithms designed to keep users engaged on a platform for as long as possible. The legislation aims to provide young users with a more controlled online experience, limiting exposure to potentially harmful content.

Popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, , Twitter, and are likely to be affected by the new legislation, as they rely on user-generated content and data-driven recommendations. The bills seek to strike a balance between enabling young users to connect with friends and explore topics of interest while mitigating the risks associated with excessive social media use.

In addition to the SAFE for Kids Act, the New York Child Data Protection Act prohibits online sites from collecting, using, sharing, or personal data of individuals under 18 without informed consent. Strict penalties, including civil damages and fines of up to $5,000 per violation, will be imposed on violators. The legislation aligns with efforts in other states, such as Utah, Arkansas, and Florida, to regulate children's access to social media and safeguard their online privacy.

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Overall, the passage of legislation in New York to address the impact of social media on children reflects a growing recognition of the need to protect young users in the digital age. By implementing measures to limit exposure to addictive content and safeguard personal data, lawmakers are taking proactive to create a safer online environment for children. While the legislation may face challenges from industry stakeholders, its ultimate goal is to prioritize the well-being of young users in an increasingly connected world.

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