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RELEASE: Robbins Introduces SOTA Kids Act

Friday, March 3, 2023


SOTA Kids Act

SAINT PAUL, MN – Rep. Kristin Robbins (R-Maple Grove) had her first bill hearing on Wednesday for her bipartisan Stop Online Targeting Against (SOTA) Kids Act, HF 1503.

The bill would ban social media companies from using algorithms to target unsolicited content to kids in Minnesota. Kids under age 18 would still be able to have social media accounts and view content of their choosing, but they would need parental permission to open an account and their “feeds” would only show content they have “liked” or “followed.” They would not be sent additional content based on what they like, follow or otherwise engage with.

The basic premise, based on mounting research-based evidence, is that our kids are being besieged with unsolicited, algorithm-driven content from social media companies whose business model is dependent on keeping them engaged on these platforms. Research shows that teens aged 13-18 are spending more than three hours a day on social media and some spend much more. Social media design features have been linked to harmful effects to minors, including increased anxiety and depression, bullying, eating disorders, self-harm, drug addiction and suicide. 

“Kids increasingly live their lives in both the physical and digital worlds,” noted Rep. Robbins. “We take great care about who and what we allow our children to interact with in the real world and we should do the same in the digital space. The SOTA Kids Act takes a narrow, but concrete step to protect Minnesota kids online by prohibiting social media companies from targeting kids with unsolicited content.”

The SOTA Kids Act has already received strong bipartisan support because of its importance in helping to stem the rising childhood mental health crisis. The Commerce Committee passed the bill unanimously on Wednesday, and referred it to the House Judiciary and Finance Committee. 

“I am proud to be working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle on the SOTA Kids Act,” said Robbins. “I look forward to passing this bipartisan, commonsense bill to safeguard Minnesota’s kids while they use social media.”

Robbins with testifiers

Rep. Robbins (center) is joined by testifiers in support of her SOTA Kids Act following the bill's first hearing in the Commerce Committee on Wednesday