HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) — State lawmakers are looking at ways to require young children to have parental consent before accessing sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
The children’s committee held a hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Big tech is making it difficult for parents to monitor their children’s online activity, and some believe that needs to change.
Lawmakers are trying to make it harder for children to have unrestricted access.
With a simple click or swipe, kids can sign up for highly addictive social apps and games, exposing 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 use of technology and protect them from harmful content.
A Senate bill would expand federal protections, requiring the consent of children up to age 16.
Last autumn, students at New Britain High School spoke out against social media.
“All they’re doing is putting all these things in front of us that we don’t want and we’d rather see something more positive,” said Brian Ortiz, a senior at the school.
It’s more than negative.
Attorney General William Tong said social media targets children and the images children see distort their opinions 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 bipartisan coalition that is suing Facebook.
“We need strong laws to protect our children from the harms of social media. Because we all see it, we know it’s happening. It’s a struggle to keep kids off these platforms every day. We know it can happen to young people,” Tong said.
Social media sites have certain content protections.
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 prevent children from going to these sites?
Eyewitness News has contacted TikTok and Facebook and has yet to hear back.
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