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Proposed bill would ban “mindless scrolling” and addictive features on social media apps


(WTNH) — Tech companies have been working to put measures in to place to help prevent addiction or limit screen times on devices and in apps.

Apple iPhones currently have a “Screen Time” feature which lets individuals set times on phone usage and allow users to more closely monitor and become aware of how much time is being spent on their devices.

Facebook is also focusing more on creating “meaningful conversations” and “time well spent” with their family of apps including Facebook-owned Instagram.

In August of 2018, Facebook released a tool to manage time on the social media app with “Your Time on Facebook” which can be seen through the settings tab in the app version of Facebook.

On Instagram, tapping “Your Activity” will bring up charts on usage and options to limit time “mindlessly scrolling” in the app.

According to one politician, who is currently the youngest Senator in Congress at the age of 39, these small steps are currently not enough to take on the psychological influence that technology may have on the minds of millions of people.

Senator Josh Hawley (R) of Missouri has proposed the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, or S.M.A.R.T., which would place strict guidelines on social media companies, in part, to:

“Prohibit social media companies from using practices that exploit human psychology or brain psychology to substantially impede freedom of choice, to require social media companies to take measures to mitigate the risks of internet addiction and psychological exploitation, and for other purposes.”

Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act

The bill is an effort to remove features like infinite scrolling, auto refill and auto play of content that keep consumers using apps and platforms. The purpose is to limit engagement time and places strict responsibility on the tech platforms to prevent addiction.

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