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The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

Proposed California Legislation Imposes Social Media Restrictions for Youth

Graphic by Sofia Bello
Newly proposed California Senate bill hopes to reduce harmful algorithms social media contains. This bill is set to have social media companies put limits on users under 18 to make sure children are protected from the negative effects.

Without a doubt, social media has become a significant part of modern culture and society. In fact, 90% of people between the ages 13-17 have social media. This could soon be heavily affected by a newly proposed bill regarding social media algorithms. 

Social media algorithms are complex sets of calculations used by platforms to determine which content will make it onto a viewer’s feed, based on their behaviors and interests. Essentially, the more you interact with a certain type of content, the more the algorithm will pop up similar content on your feed. It helps shuffle the algorithm to fit your interests, as well as send notifications of new posts you may like. 

The amount of interactions and overall popularity on someone’s post will also create a higher chance of it appearing on your feed. 

“I think [my algorithms] do pretty well. Sometimes I’ll search things on Safari or whatever and I’ll get ads for it on social media. It’s kind of scary, but I think they are really good about pinpointing exactly my interests and what I’m into,” said sophomore Brooklyn Whitcomb.

There is controversy surrounding algorithms, because while they can enhance a user’s experience on a social media platform, there is concern that the algorithms can be used to promote fake news or addictive behaviors.

Algorithms can cause negative consequences on one’s mental health and social life because of the endless scrolling habits that the platforms promote. For people who are struggling with mental health through anxiety, depression, low self esteem, (etc.), the algorithm could further worsen their mental health because it tracks their behaviors.

People spend way too much time on technology so I think this would create a good balance of it’s nice to be on it, but also know that you don’t have to be on it 24/7″

— Brooklyn Whitcomb

The author of the bill, Nancy Skinner, a member of the California State Senate, announced the proposal in January of this year. According to the California State Senate, this bill “would require companies to shut off those [addictive] algorithms by default for users under 18, and implement other tweaks that lawmakers say would reduce negative health effects of social media on children.” 

Social media platforms would be restricted from sending addictive feeds to youth without parental (or guardian) consent. The “other tweaks” would include a mandated default screen time limit of one hour a day, which can be adjusted by the user’s parents, as well as automatically setting a minor’s accounts to private. 

The goal is to decrease the negative exposure of social media that is impacting youth who are particularly vulnerable to its effect on their mental health. 

“I think it would be good. A lot of our generation spends too much time on social media, especially with the iPad phenomenon, like ‘iPad kids’. People spend way too much time on technology so I think this would create a good balance of it’s nice to be on it, but also know that you don’t have to be on it 24/7,” said Whitcomb. 

Besides pushing students to find other ways to spend their free time, the bill will likely have a beneficial outcome on the rising generations by allowing students to explore their individuality, rather than conforming to what is popular on social media.  

“I think it will make a lot more people creative and unique because everyone just gears to their phones and doesn’t think about anything else,” said senior Brody Loo.

Currently, there is nothing more said on the status of the bill, but it does bring up the discussion of social media’s role in today’s society and the precautions that should be put in place to reduce its negative effects on youth.

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About the Contributor
Gabriella Bello
Gabriella Bello, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Gabriella Bello is a sophomore returning for her second year as a member of The Express staff. She is very excited to further grow as a writer and photographer, and take the initiative on starting up the first ever student podcast for San Juan Hills! Outside of school, Gabriella enjoys traveling, being in nature, baking, volunteering, listening to music, and spending time with her friends and family. Along with Newspaper, she is also a part of National Honors Society. Gabriella is looking forward to expressing her creativity and leadership this year as the A&E Editor.
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