July 7, 2022
Erin Fay

How Addicting Is Too Addicting?

It’s all about social media. Everyone is on social media, and no one knows where to draw the line.

Right now, in California, they have proposed a bill against big tech that states social media usage is taking a toll on mental health of children. This new bill is called the Cunningham-Wicks bill and it is one of many that is proposed to protect kids online. This bill would hold social media companies legally liable for deploying features and apps that are created to addict children according to Politico. The most significant part of this bill would that it would be retroactive meaning that it would put the companies at legal risk for any past damage their products have caused. Jordan Cunningham, a republican representative, compared this bill to the legislation against Big Tobacco and marketing to children.

There are many affects that social media has on children all the way up to young adults. Kids are seeing models and influencers all day long and strive to look like them when it is not obtainable. None of these people are going on their social media admitting to editing their photos or telling their followers they have a personal trainer and someone who cooks every meal for them because it is their job to look good. Kids see this and just think wow, I want to look like them and be famous like them. It can take a toll on someone’s mental health and that leads to depression, eating disorders and many other issues.

People are constantly surrounded by social media and cannot put their phones down. If you are not on Facebook, you are more than likely on Instagram and if you’re not on Instagram you are on Snapchat or TikTok OR you are like most people under 30, you are on all the social media platforms. This can be too much for a young person to handle especially when they don’t have the discipline to put their phones down. You hear all the time from the older generations, “These kids and their phones” but look around and see…its not just the younger generation anymore. EVERYONE IS ADDICTED.

The scariest take away from this bill is learning that the social media platforms know what they are doing. A whistleblower at Facebook, Frances Haugen, testified that her company knew what the apps were doing and how they were harming children's mental health. They create algorithms to ensure that people will stay on their apps and the second they get off, they will get a notification that will make them get back on within minutes. It kind of makes you feel like a robot being controlled by big tech, huh?

This bill has an uphill battle against all social media platforms. Soon there will be a line drawn that they cannot cross for the safety of the people and their mental health. Although, this isn’t the first time this is being brought to the attention of the people, hopefully it will be changed so it will be the last.

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