La. lawmaker proposes bill to restrict social media access for teenagers, children
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Louisiana lawmaker has filed a bill that would restrict social media access for certain children.
Sen. Patrick McMath, R-Covington, proposed a bill that would create age restrictions on social media sites, such as Instagram or TikTok, for anyone 16 or younger.
If passed, an online platform would have to secure parental consent before the child can download the app. The bill would also create blackout times, or a curfew, where children can’t use the platform. The hours would be between 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Parents in Baton Rouge shared their thoughts about the plan.
“Excuse my language, but hell yes. A parent should have some type of say-so of what their child does on social media,” said James Wilson.
“I do think it will be a good idea to have some sense of control over what your child’s exposure is,” said Jason Roe.
Lawmakers say the plan is to foster a safe online environment for kids while putting some parameters in place to address concerns such as cyberbullying, addiction, and misinformation.
There are some concerns about how this can be enforced, and possibly become effective.
“I do not think the obstacle will be greater than what Netflix and other companies have implemented,” LSU law professor Ken Levy said. Levy says kids will try to find a way around the rules, but if parents have an open and honest conversation with their kids he thinks it could work.
“We have to do a careful balance because we can’t keep them from the internet entirely because there are a lot of upsides to the internet. You know, it can be very educational, it is a way of connecting with people, but there is a dark side and several downsides. So, we have to do a careful balance, but we need to strike that balance, and I don’t think we’ve been doing a good job of that,” Levy said.
One parent agrees.
“Without that, I think you risk losing your child and pushing them away, as opposed to pulling them in and getting communication going with them,” Wilson said.
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