Psychologist offers ways lawmakers can help 'defang' social media's effects on kids
Bills to regulate social media, including its use in schools, are already moving through the Florida Legislature with bipartisan support.
Social media has strong links to adverse mental health impacts among teens. A panel of Florida lawmakers Thursday heard recommendations from psychologist Nicholas Kardaras about provisions that could help protect kids without requiring a complete ban on the platforms.
“It’s similar to a COVID mindset. Protect the vulnerable, but let the others live their lives," Kardaras said. "So in that sense, age restrictions: the best thing we can do as a parent —I’m a parent of twin 15-year-old boys — is delay, delay, delay the moment that they get their own devices.”
Kardaras said in addition to considering age restrictions, lawmakers could require warning labels or request funds from social media companies to help support the care that some teens may end up needing. He also suggested pursing an option that would let people opt out of the algorithm on social media platforms.
"You would have to search for something, it wouldn't search for you," Kardaras said. "So I think that's something that to some degree can defang social media."
Bills to regulate social media, including its use in schools, are already moving through the Legislature with bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis has pitched a plan to ban TikTok. He’s raised concerns about its collection of personal data and its ties to China.
A week earlier, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told CNN that, "based on data," 13 was too young for social media, which "does a disservice" to children early in their teens.
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