James Maroney

STATE SENATOR

James Maroney

DEPUTY MAJORITY LEADER

AN INDEPENDENT VOICE

February 28, 2023

State Senator James Maroney To Lead Public Hearing On Social Media Bill Requiring Parental Consent

Today, state Senator James Maroney (D-Milford), Senate Chair of the General Law Committee, will lead a public hearing on multiple bills addressing social media concerns including Senate Bill 395, “An Act Concerning Social Media And Parental Consent.”

“The pandemic accelerated the use of technology in our classrooms and so many more children have an online presence,” said Sen. Maroney. “While social media can be a positive, it can also do harm. We need to protect our children with the increased access they have to the online world.”

Senate Bill 395, introduced by state Senator Saud Anwar, will require a child under 16-years-old to obtain parental consent before using and opening a social media account.

“Social media’s negative effects can expose children to images and information that can be directly harmful,” said Sen. Anwar. “It can also expose them to bad actors who may seek to take advantage of them. I’m hopeful that we can take steps toward better protecting our youth through steps such as requiring parental consent for social media access.”

The data on the harmful impacts of social media on our children present serious issues such as depression, diet, cyberbullying including wide range of psychological and behavioral problems, body image and online grooming. Pediatricians have been raising alarm to the escalating effects of Internet on children’s mental and developmental growth. Social media accounts become a permanent and public image of children. It is important to recognize that Social Media use has its benefits, but excessive or inappropriate use can lead to a range of negative outcomes. These include mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and addiction, as well as unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity-related issues. In addition, social media can contribute to negative body image and encourage unhealthy weight loss practices, particularly among young adolescent girls with low self-esteem.

Parental consent will ensure the use of social media by a child will be used in a more secure and reliable manner. Mandating the uploading of a signed document with specific details about the child and the parent’s permission and restrictions can help reduce the risk of children accessing social media without their parents’ knowledge or consent.