A US Senator is hoping to curb the habits of young people and their activity on social media, it has been announced. US Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, intends to help young people who he believes might be prone to online addiction.
The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act would directly impact tech companies like Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter. He has suggested that companies limit social media access to 30 minutes per day. Of course, adults can disable this feature if they want.
In effect, the bill would fundamentally change how social media companies attract people to their platforms. Many services are designed to keep people scrolling as long as possible.
According to the bill:
“The business model for many internet companies, especially social media companies, is to capture as much of their users’ attention as possible. “To achieve this end, some of the internet companies design their platforms and services to exploit brain physiology and human psychology. By exploiting psychological and physiological vulnerabilities, these design choices interfere with the free choice of users.”hawley.senate.gov
Anyone who uses apps like Facebook or Twitter can recognize the ‘infinite scroll’ feature which can trap users on the platforms for hours at a time. The bill would limit the amount of content that is automatically loaded in front of our eyes.
As well as putting an end to infinite scrolling, Senator Hawley has also suggested capping the daily or weekly limits. A successful example of how tech companies achieve longterm engagement is Snapchat’s reward system for consecutive ‘streaks’ between friends each day.
Senator Hawley was elected to represent the state of Missouri in 2018 and is not wasting his time in Congress. Each year, more and more people recognize addictive responses to social media. According to researchers, the effects can be the same as drugs or alcohol.
Do you agree with Senator Josh Hawley’s proposed bill? Let us know in the comments.