California bill would allow parents to sue over kids' social media addiction

California's State Assembly passed a bill that allows parents to sue social media platforms for harming children who have become addicted to their platforms for up to $25,000 per violation, ABC News reported May 23.

The bill defines "addiction" as kids under 18 who are harmed physically, mentally, emotionally, developmentally or materially by app use and feel incapable of stopping due to obsession with it.

The bill would only apply to social media apps that generated at least $100 million in gross revenue over the past year, targeting marketplace leaders such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. It would not apply to streaming platforms or companies that solely offer email or text message services.

"The era of unfettered social experimentation on children is over and we will protect kids," Rep. Jordan Cunningham, R-Templeton, the author of the bill, said.

The legislation will now move to the state Senate, which will have hearings and negotiations for weeks among lawmakers and advocates.

If passed, business groups predict that to avoid the legal risk, social media companies will end operations for children in California and implement strict age-verification processes to prevent adolescents from accessing their app.

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