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Sen. Gounardes pushes social media bills for youth mental health

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Advocates and lawmakers gathered outside the Midtown offices of Meta on Friday to champion the passage of two bills aimed at regulating social media companies. The proposed legislation seeks to safeguard youth mental health and enhance online safety measures for children.

The focal point of these bills revolves around establishing privacy safeguards for minors in the digital realm and compelling social media platforms to cease the employment of addictive algorithmic feeds. Citing data from the U.S. Surgeon General, proponents highlighted the alarming correlation between prolonged social media usage among children and adolescents and heightened risks of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, whose constituency encompasses Downtown Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, and Bay Ridge, engaged in a dialogue regarding the bills and related matters with NY1 political reporter Bobby Cuza on “Inside City Hall” Friday. Gounardes emphasized the imperative nature of curtailing the utilization of predictive algorithms by tech conglomerates, attributing them to fostering a culture of social media addiction. He underscored the intention to mandate users under 18 years of age to curate the content pages they opt to follow.

As the driving force behind both bills, Senator Gounardes elucidated the rationale behind the legislative initiatives. The proposed regulations aim to curb the deleterious impacts of unfettered social media consumption, particularly among vulnerable demographics such as minors. By advocating for greater user autonomy and enhanced privacy measures, Gounardes aims to foster a healthier online environment conducive to the well-being of young users.

The gathering outside Meta’s offices signifies a growing consensus among stakeholders regarding the necessity of legislative intervention to mitigate the adverse effects of unregulated social media practices. With mounting concerns surrounding the influence of algorithmic feeds and the proliferation of harmful content, lawmakers like Gounardes are spearheading efforts to institute regulatory frameworks that prioritize user protection and mental health preservation.

As discussions surrounding social media regulation intensify, Senator Gounardes remains committed to advancing these bills through legislative channels. With the well-being of young constituents at the forefront of his agenda, Gounardes’ advocacy underscores the urgency of addressing the nuanced challenges posed by the digital age, particularly concerning the mental health implications of unchecked social media usage among minors.

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