California parents could soon sue for social media addiction | AP News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  one month ago  •  24 comments

By:   AP NEWS

California parents could soon sue for social media addiction | AP News
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California could soon hold social media companies responsible for harming children who have become addicted to their products, permitting parents to sue platforms like Instagram and TikTok for up to $25,000 per violation under a bill that passed the state Assembly on Monday.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



By ADAM BEAMMay 24, 2022 GMT1 of 3 Assemblyman Jordon Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, right, smiles after his bill to hold social media companies responsible for harming children who have become addicted to their products was approved by the Assembly at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, May 23, 2022. If approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill would let parents sue platforms like Instagram and TikTok for up to $25,000 per violation. At left is Assemblyman Chad Mayes, I-Yucca Valley. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) 1 of 3 Assemblyman Jordon Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, right, smiles after his bill to hold social media companies responsible for harming children who have become addicted to their products was approved by the Assembly at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, May 23, 2022. If approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill would let parents sue platforms like Instagram and TikTok for up to $25,000 per violation. At left is Assemblyman Chad Mayes, I-Yucca Valley. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California could soon hold social media companies responsible for harming children who have become addicted to their products, permitting parents to sue platforms like Instagram and TikTok for up to $25,000 per violation under a bill that passed the state Assembly on Monday.

The bill defines "addiction" as kids under 18 who are both harmed — either physically, mentally, emotionally, developmentally or materially — and who want to stop or reduce how much time they spend on social media but they can't because they are preoccupied or obsessed with it.

Business groups have warned that if the bill passes, social media companies would most likely cease operations for children in California rather than face the legal risk.

The proposal would only apply to social media companies that had at least $100 million in gross revenue in the past year, appearing to take aim at social media giants like Facebook and others that dominate the marketplace.

It would not apply to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu or to companies that only offer email and text messaging services.

"The era of unfettered social experimentation on children is over and we will protect kids," said Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham, a Republican from San Luis Obispo County and author of the bill.

Monday's vote is a key — but not final — step for the legislation. The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it will undergo weeks of hearings and negotiations among lawmakers and advocates. But Monday's vote keeps the bill alive this year.

The bill gives social media companies two paths to escape liability in the courts. If the bill becomes law, it would take effect on Jan. 1. Companies that remove features deemed addictive to children by April 1 would not be responsible for damages.

Also, companies that conduct regular audits of their practices to identify and remove features that could be addictive to children would be immune from lawsuits.

Despite those provisions, business groups have opposed the bill. TechNet, a bipartisan network of technology CEOs and senior executives, wrote in a letter to lawmakers that if the bill becomes law "social media companies and online web services would have no choice but to cease operations for kids under 18 and would implement stringent age-verification in order to ensure that adolescents did not use their sites."

"There is no social media company let alone any business that could tolerate that legal risk," the group wrote.

Lawmakers appeared willing to change the part of the bill that allows parents to sue social media companies, but none offered a detailed alternative. Instead, supporters urged their colleagues to pass the bill on Monday to continue the conversation about the issue in the state Capitol.

Assemblymember Ken Cooley, a Democrat from Rancho Cordova, said as a lawyer he normally opposes bills that create more opportunities for lawsuits. But he said lawmakers must "change the dynamics of what is surrounding us, surrounding our kids."

"We have to do something," he said. "If it doesn't turn out right we can modify as we go along."

All contents © copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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Texan1211
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Texan1211    one month ago

Why don't politicians in California let parents do their jobs and supervise their children?

 
 
 
magicschoolbusdropout
Freshman Expert
1.1  magicschoolbusdropout  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago
Why don't politicians in California let parents do their jobs and supervise their children?

That's Hard Work. Can't have that.

It's ........sssssshhhhhhhh.........Un-Communistic to "Allow" citizens to be responsible for their own lives !

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  magicschoolbusdropout @1.1    one month ago

This kind of shit from both sides is what is really wrong with this country today.

We have raised a generation of complete and utter dumbasses who somehow can't manage their own fucking lives without government intervention.

Suing because you can't or won't supervise your own children's activities? Playing the victim??

SMH

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    one month ago

Since people reject discipline and are unable to control themselves, how about a law that limits the daily use of access to social media to specific time limits based upon age groups, although I have no idea how it could be enforced.  Or would that be considered contravening personal rights and freedom?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.3  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.2    one month ago

I would hate to take the internet away from people who can handle it.

Parents should take responsibility for their kids.

I don't see how suing companies for providing a valuable service we all depend on daily is solving anything or going to help the kids. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.3    one month ago

What can be done when so many people CAN'T handle it?  I think that the reason the shooter's grandmother was shot in the face is that she TRIED to take responsibility, and stop him from his intent.  Give a kid a gun and then you can't argue with him, right?

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
1.1.5  Jack_TX  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.4    one month ago
What can be done when so many people CAN'T handle it?

Tax it.  Make it cost something.  Attach something tangible to the life they're wasting.

  I think that the reason the shooter's grandmother was shot in the face is that she TRIED to take responsibility, and stop him from his intent.  Give a kid a gun and then you can't argue with him, right?

You can't try to take responsibility that late.  It's like trying to steer a car after it's already gone off the cliff.  It's too late.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.6  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.5    one month ago

Well, my comment was conjecture anyway, and further to that we have no idea whether or not she's been trying for a while to straighten the kid up.  It's a sad story, but not anywhere as sad as what that POS did.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.7  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.4    one month ago

Look, we don't outlaw cars because some people are terrible drivers, so why take the internet away because some parents refuse to supervise their kids responsibly?

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
1.1.8  Jack_TX  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.6    4 weeks ago
Well, my comment was conjecture anyway, and further to that we have no idea whether or not she's been trying for a while to straighten the kid up.  It's a sad story, but not anywhere as sad as what that POS did.

There wasn't much conjecture involved.  It doesn't take a lot of guess work to work out that this kid had a terrible upbringing and somebody should have stepped up to the plate long ago.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.9  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.8    4 weeks ago

I agree with you.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.10  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.7    4 weeks ago

I thought the "outlaw cars" reasoning was only for gun violence arguments.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2  Jeremy Retired in NC    one month ago

So they can sue a social media company because they're shitty parents?  And they don't see how fucking stupid this is?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2    one month ago

A quote comes to mind:

"We're from the government, and here to help you". Reagan

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1    one month ago

In this case "We're from the government, and here to help you whether you want it or not"

 
 
 
Freewill
Junior Participates
3  Freewill    one month ago
"We have to do something," he said. "If it doesn't turn out right we can modify as we go along."

Holy shit!  Another - "We have to pass the bill to see what's in it".  Then we can pass another one to "fix" the damage we did with the last one.  Riiiiight!  Been there, done that, over and over again!   What is it with these politicians who constantly look for every opportunity to relieve folks of the "burden" of exercising some level of responsibility and accountability; you know the price most of us pay for liberty and the freedom to manage our own lives?    

If they really wanted to do something they could perhaps employ a simple education campaign that shows parents how to block such content or apps via their cellular or internet provider.  All of those parental tools are built into these services.  Parents are the one's that need to do something if they really feel this stuff is harmful to their children.  Communicate with your kids for God sake!  It isn't that difficult!  We did it with video games, we can do it for Insta or Tik-Tok.  

The bill defines "addiction" as kids under 18 who are both harmed — either physically, mentally, emotionally, developmentally or materially — and who want to stop or reduce how much time they spend on social media but they can't because they are preoccupied or obsessed with it.

This is a slippery slope indeed.  First, the underlined premise is ridiculous.  Ask any kid under 18, whose parents have allowed unfettered access and no other activities or attention, if they WANT to stop or reduce how much time they spend on social media.  The answer will clearly be a resounding "NO".  By this definition (preoccupied or obsessed) we can deem just about anything to be an "addiction".  Should parents be able to sue their kid's boyfriend or girlfriend?  How about their kid's affinity for sports or other hobbies from which they derive much enjoyment?  Should the purveyors or those who support those "addictions" be sued?   Hell perhaps my wife could sue the SF Giants or the LV Raiders or the SJ Sharks for their wanton disregard of the "addiction" they've caused fans like me and my kids.  Where/how will this end?

Anyway.....I digress... end rant.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
4  Jack_TX    one month ago

This is a master stroke by a brilliant statesman.

Social media companies will not risk these lawsuits and will cease operations in California.

Academic test scores will skyrocket.  Kids will learn to read again.  They might even learn math.  

 
 
 
Freewill
Junior Participates
4.1  Freewill  replied to  Jack_TX @4    one month ago
Social media companies will not risk these lawsuits and will cease operations in California.

I think it is more likely that they will be successful in lobbying for loopholes and avoiding the lions share of the lawsuits.  There is too much money in social media and all of it's platforms to cease operations completely.  As the article indicates they might put in place more robust age restrictions for certain platforms or services, but they won't cease operations completely.

Academic test scores will skyrocket.  Kids will learn to read again.  They might even learn math.

Do you really feel that social media's "addictiveness" to kids is to blame for most of the recent declines in test scores and proficiency?  I would submit that "distance learning" or "remote learning" brought about during Covid has had much more of an impact on those things than has social media in recent years.  Where social media may be hurting education is in it's use by academia itself, rather by its "addictiveness" to kids.  THIS article touches on that.

Nonetheless, education advocates, analysts, and organizations in education invest a lot of energy in social media. There are policy “influencers” who spend a remarkable amount of time firing off tweets calculated to generate buzz; teachers who regard Twitter as their favored outlet for discussing their educational frustrations and district practices; and advocacy groups whose staff spend hundreds of hours a year drafting and tracking tweets. Foundations ask grantees for “Twitter metrics” as evidence of real-world impact. This whole enterprise winds up permeating the culture of education discourse, shaping what gets discussed, how it gets discussed, and how educators, parents, advocates, policymakers, and even researchers engage one another.
Especially in education, where we’re charged with tackling complex questions of shared values, public purpose, and universal opportunity, this way of encountering others is poison. We’re supposed to model the kind of adults we’d like our children to become, not emulate the dysfunction of a middle school hallway.

That being said, there is a new social media fad or platform seemingly every 6 months to a year, and it is difficult to say which would be deemed "addictive" to kids and which aren't without some time to study them.  But again, just like anything that can cause kids to be preoccupied or obsessed, to the point of impacting their education, it is the responsibility of the parents to limit access and more importantly explain to their kids why school should take priority over ANY such distractions.  When my kids were younger it was video games, hookah bars, and the front end of the social media boom.  Today most of those come in the form of a hand-held devices or laptops with all sorts of games and social media services all of which can be limited and blocked, or can even be disabled with a simple app from the parent's phone.  And does a 7 to 16 year old kid really need a smartphone to begin with?  Somehow we and our older kids survived without one.  Amazing!  

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
4.1.1  Jack_TX  replied to  Freewill @4.1    one month ago
Do you really feel that social media's "addictiveness" to kids is to blame for most of the recent declines in test scores and proficiency?

No.  Simply the time wasted.

The whole "addictiveness" thing is bullshit, IMO.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
5  Tacos!    one month ago

As a parent, I thought it was prudent to keep my kids off of social media. That’s a good start, but kids can still be bullied on social media even if they don’t have an account on a specific site.

 
 
 
Freewill
Junior Participates
5.1  Freewill  replied to  Tacos! @5    one month ago
but kids can still be bullied on social media even if they don’t have an account on a specific site.

Sure, that's true.  They can also be bullied on a playground, in a park, on the street, in a classroom, at Chucky Cheese, or even at home which is much more often the case, and also more often to include physical violence.   If verbal bullying happens in those places, would it be practical to call for the owners of those venues to be sued by the parents?  Certainly any physical violence could be legally actionable, but typically against the bully/perpetrator or his/her family, not in most cases the venue at which it happened.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
5.1.1  Tacos!  replied to  Freewill @5.1    one month ago
a playground, in a park, on the street, in a classroom, at Chucky Cheese,

It’s different. Those places aren’t creating an environment that facilitates bullying, especially long term bullying that can involve many people and lives on the internet forever. Also, if bullying does happen in those places, the people who run them aren’t permitting it to continue when they could easily do something to stop it.

 
 
 
Freewill
Junior Participates
5.1.2  Freewill  replied to  Tacos! @5.1.1    one month ago
It’s different. Those places aren’t creating an environment that facilitates bullying

So platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok were created to provide an environment that facilitates bullying?  That is the only way they could be considered "different".  Bullying can happen in ANY environment.  The point is that only the bullies and their families can truly prevent the bullying.  Or in the case of online bullying the parents of potential victims can also take some preventative measures.

especially long term bullying that can involve many people and lives on the internet forever.

Good point on that aspect though. 

Also, if bullying does happen in those places, the people who run them aren’t permitting it to continue when they could easily do something to stop it.

Also a good point.  Although there are already features built in to block or limit access to all manner of social media services, typically at the internet provider level, or parental controls that are fairly standard in any cell phone service plan.  I agree that perhaps more stringent age restrictions and parental controls could be employed at the platform level for those apps, sites, or services that have the greatest appeal to kids, and where bullying appears to be common problem. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
5.1.3  Tacos!  replied to  Freewill @5.1.2    one month ago
So platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok were created to provide an environment that facilitates bullying?

I didn’t say the platforms were created for that purpose. However, the environment of those platforms better facilitates bullying in a way we have not seen in previous generations. They are responsible.

The point is that only the bullies and their families can truly prevent the bullying.

Unacceptable. You can’t have a situation where someone is abusing, harassing, or bullying someone and just say it’s up to the parents to fix it. It needs to be stopped and parents aren’t stopping it. In many cases, they probably don’t even know about it.

But the administrators of social media can see it happening, they create a space that facilitates bullying, and they do nothing to stop it.

By creating the social media platform, and allowing this to happen - even in the face of complaints - they abet criminal activity and negligently contribute to emotional distress.

Or in the case of online bullying the parents of potential victims can also take some preventative measures.

How do you take preventative measures when your kid isn’t even on the social media platform? For example, at a local high school around here, instagram accounts have been created where photos are surreptitiously taken of students, posted on the site, and the unwitting victims are mocked online. The account ownership is unknown, so even though the school wants to take action, it can’t. Instagram has been alerted, but won’t shut down the account. Meanwhile, students and their families who have nothing to do with instagram are emotionally tortured every day by this bullying.

 
 

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