Bill proposes fee for social media companies to have users in Minnesota

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A Minnesota state senator is proposing charging social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, a yearly fee for having users in Minnesota.

Under Sen. Roger Chamberlain’s new bill, the money would be used to create a "social media impact fund." That fund would work to address mental health issues related to social media use and educate families on how to use these platforms safely.

"We wouldn’t think for a second it would be a good idea to give a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 15-year-old car keys without any training or education," Chamberlain explained. "But that’s what we do with social media. That is exactly what we do and it’s just as damaging."

Chamberlain said he is concerned about all the time kids spend glued to their screens and the issues that can come from it, like cyber-bullying and depression.

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A recent study released by the American Psychiatric Association found 67% of people believe social media use is related to feelings of loneliness and isolation and 38% believe it is harmful to mental health.

Chamberlain introduced another social media bill last year, calling for a pop-up warning to appear on the screen every time a person opens a social media app. The warning would read: "Social media use is addictive. Excessive use of mobile devices and social media platforms may lead to mental health disorders, reduced productivity, lack of sleep, and social alienation."

Even though he wrote these bills, he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he is not going to actively pursue measures like a fee for social media networks. Chamberlain said it is simply a springboard to a larger conversation.

"Do you know where your kids are? Yeah, they’re in the bedroom for 12 hours playing on the phone, waiting for a like, waiting for a share, a heart, waiting for some cyborg AI technology to give them some affirmation. This is not how we are designed to live," Chamberlain said. "My goal right now is to get people to talk about this and realize the problem to try to develop some process to deal with it."