In an era dominated by the digital age, when the younger generation’s lives are impacted heavily by social media, the question of how government intervention can guide adolescents in their use of these platforms has emerged as a prominent concern. Social media platforms present many complexities to the lives of young individuals that have caused many to call for stricter social media regulations. In response to this, policymakers are exploring avenues to enhance education on safe social media practices for youth.
This map is a visual representation of a largely underreported and under-discussed aspect of government involvement: the social media educational awareness policies adopted by various U.S. states. Despite receiving limited media attention, state legislators across the country are proactively tackling the issues that minors face on social media. Their focus is on enhancing education, arming adolescents with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the social world responsibly, and ensuring their safety in this ever-evolving digital landscape.
Notably, one of the driving factors behind these state-level initiatives is the perspective of parents and guardians. According to the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), a majority of American parents believe that the primary responsibility for their teenagers' online safety rests with them. However, an equally substantial portion, two out of four, believes that the government should play a pivotal role in safeguarding their children's digital experiences. Social media educational awareness policies have derived from this sentiment. As we navigate this map, we see the different approaches policymakers have undertaken.
The primary objective of this map is to provide an informative and comprehensive overview of the status of educational awareness bills at the state legislative level. It serves as a window into the dynamic efforts of state legislation to enhance educational awareness about safe social media practices for youth. It allows for easy comparison, analysis, and understanding of the different approaches taken by different states in enhancing education on safe social media use. The map offers a valuable resource for researchers, policymakers, and concerned citizens who seek to comprehend the difference in state-level responses to this issue and the efforts that their states are engaged in.
As you explore the map, you will find that each state takes a unique approach to enhancing safe social media use. The variances and similarities in their policies reflect a variety of strategies that aim to empower and protect young individuals. This map provides a starting point for understanding the diverse landscape of state-level responses to educate adolescents on social media usage. So far this year, three bills have been passed. The states in which those bills were passed are Florida, New Jersey, and Texas. There have been thirty-seven total proposed bills, nine of those addressing the community and twenty-eight public education systems. There are fifteen inactive and nineteen active bills.
By examining policies presented on this map, we hope to contribute to a broader discussion about how government intervention can guide adolescents in their use of social media. As you navigate the various approaches undertaken by states on the safety and well-being of adolescents in this digital age consider the potential impact of these bills on the well-being of adolescents.
Notes about the map
The bills tracked include a charge to increase social media literacy education. The bills do not include restrictions on the usage of social media outside of public schools. They do not include data privacy laws for social media platforms. The bills are split into two categories: Public education and Community.
- Relating to technology usage in K-12 public schools and/or
- Involves media literacy curriculum of public education systems
- Promotes awareness of social media effects on youth and/or
- Funds study of social media effects on adolescents