Lawmakers, parents clash over social media age requirement

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to establish a minimum age to use social media apps like TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and more.

"For too long, big tech has exposed our kids to dangerous content," Sen. Tom Cotton (R – Arkansas) said at a press conference Wednesday morning.

"I’ve seen both of my children be subjected to these algorithms that are intent on addicting them to their screens," added Sen. Chris Murphy (D – Connecticut).


Local parents react to TikTok's new screen time restrictions for teens

TikTok announced changes Wednesday that are designed to help teens manage their time while using the app.

Among other things, the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act would set a minimum age of 13 to use social media. It would require parental consent for kids ages 13-17, and lawmakers said it would stop social media companies from feeding content using algorithms to kids.

"By instituting these simple and straightforward guidelines," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D – Hawaii), "we’ll be able to give the next generation of children what every parent wants for their child, which is a chance to grow up happy and healthy."

There are some concerns, though. 

Youth-led coalition Design it For Us released a statement saying in part, "We believe that any legislation addressing harm on social media should put the onus on companies to make their platforms safer, instead of preventing kids and teens from being on platforms at all."

Some parents expressed similar sentiments Wednesday, including Ebony DaCosta.

"I think they need to focus less on the kids, the restrictions, and more on what these companies are allowed to do," she explained.

Overall, among people who spoke with FOX 5 Wednesday in Silver Spring, reactions were mixed.

"There should be some sort of governmental oversight," Reggie Jackson said.

Greg Shelton, meanwhile, said he’s ok with some restrictions but he doesn’t think lawmakers should be the people instituting them.

You can read the full text of the bill here.