State lawmakers want children to have parental consent for social media

State lawmakers are looking at ways to require younger children to have a parent’s consent before accessing sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:58 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – State lawmakers are looking at ways to require younger children to have a parent’s consent before accessing sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

The Children’s Committee held a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Big tech makes it hard for parents to control their kids’ online activity, and some feel that needs to change.

Lawmakers are trying to make it harder for children to have unlimited access.

With a click or a swipe, children can sign up for highly addictive social apps and games, which exposes them to everything from semi-pornographic images to online conversations with strangers.

Lawmakers are proposing legislation to make it easier for parents to guide their children’s tech use and protect them from harmful content.

A Senate bill would expand federal protection, requiring consent for kids up to age 16.

Last fall, students at New Britain High School spoke out against social media.

“All they do is put all this stuff in front of us which we don’t want to and we would rather see something more positive,” said Brian Ortiz, a senior at the school.

It’s more than just negative.

Attorney General William Tong says social media targets children and that images children see distort their views and create feelings of depression and insecurity.

Challenges on TikTok have encouraged children to damage their schools and slap their teachers.

Tong is part of a 48-state bi-partisan coalition suing Facebook.

“We need strong laws to protect our kids from the harms of social media. Because we all see it, we know it happens. It’s a struggle to keep kids off these platforms every single day. We know it can happen to young people,” Tong said.

Social media sites do have some protections on content.

Tong says Congress needs to act and allow states to hold social media companies accountable.

But while some see this as the right approach, it’s questionable whether it can be implemented in a meaningful way.

Can parents really stop children from going on these sites?

Eyewitness News reached out to TikTok and Facebook and have not heard back yet.