Texas bill would ban social media for children under 18

A Republican lawmaker from North Texas filed a bill aimed at keeping children off social media.

State Rep. Jared Patterson’s HB 896 would require social media users to be 18 years old to create an account.

Patterson believes social media is harmful to children and compared it to the use of cigarettes before 1964.

"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," he said.

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Most sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter require users to be at least 13 years old to join but don’t require any proof of age.

Under HB 896, social media sites would also be forced to verify a user’s age with a photo ID and allow parents to request the removal of their child’s account.

"The harms social media poses to minors are demonstrable not just in the internal research from the very social media companies that create these addictive products, but in the skyrocketing depression, anxiety, and even suicide rates we are seeing afflict children," said Greg Sindelar, CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "We are tremendously grateful for Rep. Jared Patterson’s leadership on keeping this precious population safe, and TPPF is fully supportive of prohibiting social media access to minors to prevent the perpetual harms of social media from devastating the next generation of Texans."

Patterson represents District 106, which includes parts of Denton County.