Too young for social media? Bill would require parental consent until 16
Some Connecticut state lawmakers want to make it harder for children to create social media accounts.
The legislature's Children's Committee advanced a bill Tuesday afternoon requiring parental consent for kids under 16. Parents who object could ask a social media platform to remove their kids' page. The app would have 10 days to comply. Currently, federal law sets the sign-up age at 13 years old.
Supporters say parents need more control over their kids' online exposure.
"Thirty-two percent of girls who previously felt bad about their body felt worse after using Instagram. That's outrageous," said state Rep. Tom O'Dea (R-New Canaan).
But kids can get around the age limits. A 2021 national poll from the University of Michigan found a third of children as young as 7 years old use social media.
Experts say an age limit can work. Dr. Vahid Behzadan, with the University of New Haven, says YouTube requires an official ID or parental consent. Software for your WiFi router can also limit which sites your kids can access. Dozens of apps also offer promises to police kids' phones, but those apps come with risks.
"These apps are essentially spyware," said Behzadan. "What is typed on the phone, the contacts made through the phone via phone or text messaging."
Some say if there's an app for that, kids will find a way to access it.
"I'm 22 and when I was a little bit younger, I definitely found a way around some things," said Stamford resident J.T. Piro.