(The Center Square) — Georgia lawmakers will likely consider legislation requiring social media companies to help crack down on cyberbullying.
Lt. Governor Burt Jones and Senate Majority Caucus Chair Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, plan to introduce legislation for lawmakers to consider during the 2024 legislative Session to require social media companies to take “concrete steps” to verify their users’ ages.
“There’s a lot of them out there that give access or give people the ability to contact minors and either try to entice them to do illegal things or shame them in what we consider bullying,” Jones, a Republican, told The Center Square. “It’s a problem; it’s an issue that you can tell just by looking at statistics. Mental health issues are becoming more and more increased, and suicides are becoming more and more increased, …and all these factors are playing into a heavy stress load on children today.
“I think we need some legislation that has some teeth in it, and we need partners with a lot of these social media platforms in helping us police it and also address the issues,” Jones added.
The proposed legislation would update existing rules about monitoring bullying and educating students and teachers on this issue to consider modern platforms. It would likely require social media companies to remove features they know are addictive to children.
“Parents and schools need our attention and unwavering support in their efforts to build healthy communities by limiting the negative impacts of social media,” Anavitarte said in an announcement. “The mental health of our children and limiting outlets for bullying are critical, and I believe this is a key first step in addressing these issues.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor