Republican State Rep. Jared Patterson, from Denton County, Texas, has introduced a bill that would ban minors from having social media accounts. Paterson argues that social media is not safe for minors, citing, among other things, self-harm content.
Patterson proposed a new law that would force social platforms to perform age verification on users.
We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.
“HB 896 would prohibit minors from obtaining social media accounts in Texas. Specifically, this legislation seeks to limit social media usage to profile accounts 18 and older, requires profiles to utilize photo identification as a means of age verification, allows parents the opportunity to request account removal of their child, and grants enforcement of deceptive trade practices to the Office of the Attorney General if violated,” reads a press release from published by Patterson’s office.
“A social media platform shall verify the age of the account holder by requiring the account holder to provide a copy of the account holder’s driver’s license along with a second photo showing both the account holder and the driver ’s license in a manner that allows the social media company to verify the identity of the account holder,” the bill states.
Patterson’s office cited statistics on suicide rates among minors. Until 2008, suicide rates among minors were declining. However, there was an 18.8% annual increase between 2009 and 2015 among girls aged 10 to 14. In the same period, there was a 47.1% increase in suicide rates among people aged 10 to 24.
“Social media is the pre-1964 cigarette,” Patterson said. “Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, social media access to minors has led to remarkable rises in self-harm, suicide, and mental health issues.”