Colorado Leaders Look to Make Social Media Safer for Kids

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Kaitlyn Tollefson, who was a freshman in high school at the time, started using social media a lot to pass the time and talk to friends. But what started as a way to stay connected soon became a problem. Kaitlyn found herself spending about 12 hours every day just scrolling through TikTok, skipping meals and losing sleep. She realized it wasn’t healthy, but she couldn’t stop.

Now, Kaitlyn is 19 and sharing her story to support a new idea from lawmakers. They want to help kids like her who spend too much time on social media. They say it’s becoming a big problem for young people’s mental health.

The idea is to make two changes. First, schools would offer more programs about how technology affects our health. Second, social media apps like TikTok and YouTube would have to show pop-up messages to kids under 18 if they’ve been using the app for too long or if it’s late at night.

The messages would give facts about why spending too much time on social media is bad for you. Parents, teachers, and students would also have access to a “resource bank” with more information.

This idea is already moving forward in the Colorado Senate. Some lawmakers think it’s a good idea because many parents, like Senator Jim Smallwood, feel lost about how to help their kids with social media. They want the government to give them some guidance.

But not everyone is on board. Some people think it’s not the government’s job to tell parents how to handle social media. They think families should decide for themselves.

Similar ideas are popping up in other places, too. Just this week, Florida’s governor signed a law to make social media safer for kids. It says kids under 14 can’t have social media accounts without their parents’ permission.

These changes are happening because many people are worried about how social media affects kids’ mental health. They say that while social media can be fun, it’s also designed to make us spend a lot of time on it, which can be bad for our brains, especially when we’re still growing up.

So, while social media can be a good way to connect with friends and learn new things, it’s important to use it wisely and take breaks.

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