SENATE RESOLUTION No. 75

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 15, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  KRISTIN M. CORRADO

District 40 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges Congress and President of US to enact “Kids Online Safety Act.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Senate Resolution respectfully urging Congress and the President of the United States to enact the “Kids Online Safety Act.”

 

Whereas, Social media use is associated with poor mental health outcomes for minors; and

Whereas, By design, social media platforms create addictive behavior patterns through likes, shares, and comments, which trigger the brain’s reward center and elevate dopamine levels in users; and

Whereas, As a result, over the past decade, the frequency of social media use has risen among tweens (children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old) and teenagers (children between the ages of 13 and 17 years old); and

Whereas, The nonprofit research organization Common Sense Media found that overall screen use among tweens increased by 17 percent from 2019 to 2021, with 38 percent having used social media and 18 percent reportedly using social media every day; and

Whereas, The Pew Research Center noted even stronger trends among teenagers, reporting that 95 percent use social media and that 35 percent self-identify as frequent users; and

Whereas, Simultaneously, the prevalence of mental illness among these populations has grown at an alarming rate; and

Whereas, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36.7 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 report feeling sad or hopeless, 18.8 percent have seriously considered attempting suicide, and 15.7 percent have developed a suicide plan; and

Whereas, A seminal 2020 psychological study found strong associations between increased social media use and higher rates of mental illness among minors, especially adolescent girls; and

Whereas, Since then, several studies have published findings to support the negative impact of social media on depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia disorders among children and adolescents; and

Whereas, Despite this concerning research, social media companies have yet to meaningfully address the mental health side effects of social media use among children and adolescents; and

Whereas, The “Kids Online Safety Act” was introduced by United States Senator Richard Blumenthal and various cosponsors and would promote data safety, prevent and mitigate patterns of use that indicate or encourage addictive behaviors, expand parental control features, and require social media platforms to prevent promotion of harmful material for minors; and

Whereas, By enacting the “Kids Online Safety Act,” Congress and the President of the United States can address the growing mental health crisis associated with social media use among children and adolescents; now, therefore,

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  This House respectfully urges Congress and the President of the United States to enact the “Kids Online Safety Act.”

 

     2.  Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the President of the United States, the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, and each member of Congress elected from this State.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution urges Congress and the President of the United States to enact the “Kids Online Safety Act.” 

     Social media use is associated with poor mental health outcomes for minors. Social media platforms are designed to promote addictive behavior patterns, encouraging its users to engage with social media more frequently and for a greater length of time.  As a result, over the past decade, the rate of social media use has risen significantly among both tween (children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old) and teenage (children between the ages of 13 and 17 years old) populations.  Simultaneously, the prevalence of mental illness among children and adolescents has grown at an alarming rate.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36.7 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 report feeling sad or hopeless, 18.8 percent have seriously considered attempting suicide, and 15.7 percent have developed a suicide plan.  A seminal 2020 psychological study found strong associations between increased social media use and higher rates of mental illness among minors, especially adolescent girls.  Since then, several studies have published findings to support the negative impact of social media on depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia among children and adolescents.  

     Despite this growing wealth of research, the social media sector has yet to meaningfully address the mental health impact of its technology on minors.  The “Kids Online Safety Act” was introduced by United States Senator Richard Blumenthal and various cosponsors and would promote data safety, prevent and mitigate patterns of use that indicate or encourage addictive behaviors, expand parental control features, and require social media platforms to prevent promotion of harmful material for minors.  By enacting the “Kids Online Safety Act,” Congress and the President of the United States can address the growing mental health crisis associated with social media use among children and adolescents.