The Utah House of Representatives passed a critical bill that supports youth and families. HB 311, "Social Media Usage Amendments" empowers parents to safeguard children, fight back against addictive algorithms, and hold social media companies responsible.
In 2021, the Wall Street Journal published an article "How TikTok Serves Up Sex and Drug Videos". The Journal highlighted how the social media platform sent to accounts for minors dozens and in some cases hundreds of videos promoting drugs, sex, and pornography. This content is not only inappropriate for minors, it can be addictive and destructive. It contributes to the mental health struggles of our youth.
We are concerned about mental health in our communities. Intermountain Health created a video to feature the importance of this issue and share their perspective about the connection between mental health and physical health for our youth. This bill specifically addresses the kind of content that undermines both physical and emotional health.
Something can be done about this. For streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime there are rating systems and content restrictions for minors. For online video games and consoles, there are rating systems and content restrictions for minors. For decades, movies have had rating systems and content restrictions. We restrict content downloaded in schools and other public settings because it is not appropriate for minors. It is reasonable and appropriate for the State of Utah to restrict the kind of content that is distributed to minors on social media. Further, social media companies have a responsibility to stop sending harmful pornographic, drug related, and self harm content to youth.