New York to ban addictive social media feeds and overnight notifications for teens

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New York plans to ban social media companies (think Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snap, and more) from using algorithms to manage content for minors without parental consent.

State lawmakers are taking measures against social media platforms, which have faced criticism in recent years. They’re blamed for their alleged addictive nature and impact on young people.

You might recall how in February, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a lawsuit against social media companies like Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Instagram, accusing them of contributing to a mental health crisis among the youth. The lawsuit alleges that the companies intentionally designed their platforms to “purposefully manipulate and addict children and teens to social media applications”.The newly proposed legislation aims to stop social media companies from providing automated feeds to minors. The bill, still being finalized but expected to be voted on in the coming days, would also ban sending notifications to minors during overnight hours without parental consent, according to people familiar with the matter.

In March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prohibits children under 14 from accessing social media platforms and requires parental consent for 14- and 15-year-olds, a move intended to protect them from online risks to their mental health.

Back in March 2023, Utah was the first U.S. state to implement laws regulating children’s access to social media in March of last year, followed by states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas.

The dangers go beyond the algorithm’s addictive nature. Kids on social media (without proper supervision) are exposed to inappropriate content that can be harmful to their development. This includes violent images, explicit material, and misinformation that can skew their understanding of the world. Moreover, the addictive nature of social media can lead to excessive screen time, which is associated with a host of issues such as sleep disturbances, decreased physical activity, and impaired academic performance.


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