DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley mental health experts are weighing in on the impacts of social media on children and teens and how a proposal by Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted could help limit social media use.
The “Social Media Parental Notification Act” would require kids to get their parent’s permission to access social media.
Social media apps like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat are getting increasingly more popular for children.
Director of Prevention and Early Intervention Services for Montgomery County ADAMHS Tristyn Ball said this exposes kids to a greater risk of depression, anxiety and even cyber bullying.
“A lot of that comes from comparison when young people are scrolling through their Instagram or TikTok and seeing others and comparing their own lives to that,” Ball said.
A study from the Pew Research Center found 50% of teens age 13 to 17 would struggle to give up social media.
“When young people feel like they can’t give something up. We certainly want to make sure that we’re putting some safeguards in place for them,” Ball said.
Ball said too much time on social media can cause more harm than good, and there are signs for parents to watch out for.
“You try to get them to stay away from it for a small period of time and they start feeling anxious or distressed, and a young person may start worrying that they’re missing out on something,” Ball said.
Husted is leading the proposal for the Social Media Parental Notification Act to try to protect kids from social media addiction.
“To give parents more control over what their children see, what data is being collected on their children, and to help parents fight back,” Husted said.
The act would require social media companies first to determine if a child is under 16. Then, a parent would have to provide consent and verification of their identity so their child can access the platform.
For parents that want to talk to their kids about social media use, the ADAMHS Digital Detox 101 campaign has resources and a list of screen-free activities in the Miami Valley.
“Screens have their time, screens have their purpose, but so does getting out and experiencing what the Miami Valley has to offer,” Ball said.
If this proposal passes, social media companies would have 90 days to implement these changes.