For generations we have warded off the evils attempting to harm our kids. Everything from Elvis' hips to video games has plagued parents' nightmares regarding the safety of their young ones. Now, social media is the perceived threat to our children and their well being.

Is Texas really going to try to ban social media, for teens, in 2023? We've already seen the TikTok ban on devices used for conducting State business.

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Say Hello To HB 896 In Texas, Banning Teens From All Social Media

On it's face, it sounds like a good idea. Keep teens off of social media. We've all seen the documentaries and have seen the news stories and studies regarding the potential problems social media use can bring upon our kids.

There's a lot of scary words in those stories and studies. Depression. Anxiety. Sharing of personal information. Cyber bullying. None of which we want to see our children dealing with.

HB 896 in Texas would make it so that pretty much nobody under the age of 18 would be able to use a social media platform. Sounds like an easy fix, right?

It Would Require Age Verification Using Your...Wait For It...Driver's License

Oh, and it would require a second photo as well of the soon-to-be account holder holding the license. So, for the sake of an example, in order to get on Facebook, you would need to provide them with a photo of your driver's license and a photo of you holding it.

Can you see where critics of this bill are already having some issues?

Granted, there is the part in there that states the social media company, whoever it may be, must immediately delete the personal info of the user once the age verification process is completed. That never goes wrong, right?

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash
Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Still, it makes me a little nervous. I don't know that I love using Instagram enough to hand them a photo of my driver's license in order to post photos of a sunset.

It also gets rid of anonymity. It's hard to stay anonymous when they've got a copy of your driver's license in-hand. So, if that's something that's important to you...tough luck?

There Is A Section About Account Removal That Is Very Interesting

If you have ever tried to remove your own account from, let's say Facebook, you know how difficult it can be. I tried deleting an account years ago. It deactivated for a bit, and sat dormant. However, I kept getting emails and alerts from Facebook about all of the stuff I was missing.

To save my account, all I had to do was login. They reminded me of it constantly.

HB 896 would require social media companies to delete a child's account, at a parent's request, no later than 10 days after the request is made. It also requires they cease the maintenance and collection of information from the account. It would require parents have an easy to access way of requesting the account be deleted.

That really doesn't sound like a bad thing, considering the mess I went through to delete a Facebook account.

What Are The Chances That Texas Bans Social Media?

Probably not that good, in all honesty. While there are legitimate concerns regarding social media use and our kids, a lot of critics of the legislation say there's just too many issues with the legislation itself for it to actually pass.

Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash
Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash

HB 896 has simply been introduced. There are a lot of steps it has yet to go through before it would actually go into effect. It's still way early in the game, so to speak.

What Are We As Parents Supposed To Do?

I suppose we'll do what we've always done, and what we always should do. Be involved in the lives of our children. Talk with them. Be aware. Educate ourselves the best we possibly can from all angles and possible sources, and then try to guide them.

No one ever said parenting was going to be easy.

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