LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For those under the age of 18 in Arkansas, you may have to say goodbye to your favorite social media platforms.
Thursday, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the Social Media Safety Act that would require major social media platforms to verify users are over 18 years old.
If they aren’t of age, they’ll need their parents’ approval.
“While social media can be a great tool and a good recourse for a number of things, many kids are simply not prepared for the negative aspects of it, ” Sanders said.
Dr. Howard Turney is a family therapist in Little Rock and said there are definitely many negatives and dangers to the internet but there are also positives for kids and young adults, if used properly.
He said he’s seen a number of children suffer from bullying, anxiety depression and more because of social media.
“Parents need to think long and hard before providing their child with a phone with no restrictions,” Turney said.
Sanders said the rise of self-harm and suicide is a near direct correspondence with rise of social media.
“Study after study has shown that the more a child uses these platforms, the more their mental health suffers,” Sanders said.
Turney agreed but isn’t saying social media is 100% negative. He said it is a positive that social media provides the ability for children to connect with their peers.
“It’s safe when used appropriately,” Turney said. “It’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor children.”
Arkansas would be the first state to enact this law and if passed, the governor said companies that don’t follow the law will be held accountable through criminal and civil court.