Bill would require social media users to be 18+

Lawmakers are considering a bill to protect children in the state of Arkansas.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 8:26 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Lawmakers are considering a bill to protect children in the state of Arkansas.

Senate Bill 396 would create the Social Media Safety Act, which will require age verification on all social media platforms. SB396 will be discussed in a senate committee meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

Arkansas State Senator Tyler Dees is the lead sponsor of the bill. He spoke with Region 8 about how this bill will help parents be involved in their child’s online activity.

“Today we’re seeing about a third of all internet-initiated sexual crimes are happening on social media sites,” Dees said.

This is one of the concerns parents have when their children are on social media.

Local parents Brett and Kara, who opted not to provide their last names, think the Social Media Safety Act is a great idea.

“They try to meet up with younger kids, and that’s one of the main problems for me,” said Brett.

“Kidnapping, pedophiles, luring kids out,” added Kara.

If passed, the bill will not protect the profits of mega-sites but will protect the youth, according to Dees.

He compared the bill to how age verification is required to purchase harmful things like alcohol and tobacco. If passed, social media users in Arkansas would be required to upload a photo of their state-issued ID to all social media sites.

Dees expects SB396 to be signed by Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders by the end of March if all goes as planned. Currently, the bill has been referred to the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee.