Social media is an integral part of our lives. But it is crucial that we address the potential harm that it can have on our youth (“Social media, bullying, violence fuel mental health crisis among high school students,” May 31).
Lawmakers across the country have recognized the need to rein in social media companies, particularly as it relates to their impact on children. In Pennsylvania, a bipartisan effort by Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Vincent Hughes aims to empower parents with more control over their children’s access to these platforms. This legislation is a necessary step in addressing the concerning mental health crisis among young people.
Studies show that children spend an increasing amount of time on digital devices, with teenagers averaging nearly nine hours per day. The American Psychological Association has recommended mandatory training for kids before they sign up for an account, emphasizing the need for training and education on responsible usage.
However, legislation alone is not enough. And we can’t just limit screen times and take away devices. As advocates for child safety, we understand the profound impact social media can have on our children, which is why we launched the Family Digital Wellness hub, providing parents, caregivers, and communities with the necessary tools and resources to safeguard Pennsylvania’s children.
Legislation plays a vital role in protecting our youth, but it must be complemented by ongoing education and training to foster a safe, healthy use of digital technologies.
Angela Liddle, President and CEO, PA Family Support Alliance
From Penn Live, June 4, 2023