Republican Senator Seeks To Set Legal Age For Social Media

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is working on a legislative move that would shield children from social media and give their parents a better hold on them. A staunch critic of social media platforms and tech companies, Josh proposed a bill that would set the legal threshold for social media use at 16.

To ensure the success of the plan to keep children below 16 off social media, Hawley’s agenda seeks to make it compulsory for social media companies to validate the age of their users. He is also asking Congress to conduct a mental health evaluation on the impact of social media on children.

“For me, this is about protecting kids, protecting their mental health, protecting their safety,” Hawley said of the agenda in a Tuesday interview with NBC News. “There’s ample evidence to this effect that big tech companies put their profits ahead of protecting kids online.”

Hawley alleged that tech companies have involved kids in their social experiments over the past ten years. In those experiments that are detrimental to kids, “big tech makes gobs of money, collects gobs of data, which they then sell and make even more money on,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, the aim of the agenda is to “protect kids online” and “give power back to their parents.”

Hawley believes his bill should have support from both sides of the political aisle, as he said he has had conversations with Democrats about the danger social media poses to children.

“I don’t see this as a partisan issue. I mean, this is about protecting kids from the irresponsible and rapacious big tech companies. Every parent in America, whatever your political persuasion, or if you have none, can agree with that,” he said.

True to his belief, Democrats have been critical of tech companies. In light of revelations that TikTok might be a surveillance tool for the Chinese Communist Party, leaders on the left, including President Joe Biden, have expressed support for more strict data privacy rules for Americans.

In December, the president signed legislation led by Hawley that banned TikTok from all government-issued devices.