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Breaking: New York Law Restricts Social Media Feeds for Teens

Jun 22, 2024 | News | 0 comments

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New York: On Thursday, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law new measures aimed at reducing the harmful effects of social media on children across the state. The two proposals target data privacy issues and purportedly “addictive” algorithmic feeds intended to keep children glued to their phones. Under the law, platforms would suspend alerts and fall back to chronological posts without parental authorization.

Addressing Social Media Impact

The legislation, announced during a press conference at the United Federation of Teachers’ headquarters, specifically targets data privacy concerns and the perceived addictive nature of algorithmic feeds designed to keep young users engaged on their devices.

Under the new law, social media platforms will be required to suspend notifications and revert to displaying posts in chronological order unless parents explicitly authorize otherwise.

Governor Hochul emphasized the need for parental control over children’s online activities, stating, “We can protect our kids. We can tell the companies, you are not allowed to do this, you don’t have a right to do this, that parents should have a say over the children’s lives and their health.”

What do the experts say?

According to experts, the prevalence of social media use is positively correlated with the diagnosis and symptoms of mental illness.

Experts have noted a troubling trend linking increased social media use among youth to higher rates of mental health issues. A recent assessment by the Health Department revealed that a significant percentage of daily users reported experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. This underscores the urgency behind the new regulations aimed at mitigating these risks.

A Health Department assessment released earlier that afternoon stated that 56% of youths in New York City who use the platforms daily reported having at least some depressive symptoms, while 90% of kids who use them daily reported feeling generally worried.

According to health officials, 78% of parents think that the government should limit teenagers’ access to these platforms.

Concerns and Countermeasures

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is responsible for drafting regulations before the official implementation of the new algorithmic feed limits.

Attorney James will decide how consumers can confirm their parental approval and age. Critics caution that this can be difficult to do without raising additional issues for children, and the AG informed reporters that the procedure will take “as long as it takes to make sure we get it right.”

Despite opposition from tech companies, proponents of the legislation remain confident in its constitutionality and preparedness for legal challenges. Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the tech policy coalition Chamber of Progress, expressed reservations about the bill’s potential impacts on free speech, cautioning that it may face complex legal scrutiny.

“The bill dictates what speech platforms can and cannot show users, so it’s going to face a constitutional minefield,” said Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the tech policy coalition Chamber of Progress. “It’s a well-intentioned effort, but it’s aimed at the wrong target.”

As the state prepares to implement these groundbreaking regulations, stakeholders continue to debate the balance between safeguarding children’s well-being and preserving digital freedoms. Governor Hochul’s decisive action marks a pivotal moment in addressing the evolving landscape of social media and its impact on young users in New York.

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Written by Riteshu Sen Jaiswar

Chief Of Media at BIZBoost || Public Speaker || Web 3 Junkie || Passionate Writer || Gyaan Seeker

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