Virtually unlimited, unfettered access to social media platforms has a plethora of negative effects on minors, ranging from suicidality, depression, and anxiety to sex and human trafficking, child sexual abuse material, and more, according to new research from the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Social Media is a Harmful Product” unpacks these negative effects of social media on children, making the case that the harms are demonstrable and pervasive enough for social media to be treated like an age-limited, harmful product, prohibiting access to those under the age of 18

“It is a fundamental role of the state to protect minors from harmful and addictive products. Social media is just that,” said Zach Whiting, TPPF senior fellow of technology policy. “This paper provides firm footing on which to stand to give lawmakers the research, data, and policy ideas necessary to protect kids from the scourges of social media.”

Key Points

  • Increased online connectivity and our “always-on” culture present unique challenges and dangers to minors online.
  • The state of consumer protection law federally and in Texas is insufficient to protect minors online.
  • Social media platforms are a harmful product, and enhanced state laws will better protect minors online.

To view the full research, please click here.