Social media and big tech companies have too long pursued profits while failing to protect young people. These platforms are driving a youth mental health crisis through cyberbullying, distorted body images, and social media addiction.
This issue hits close to home for me as a father. Studies show teen girls feeling pressure to achieve impossible beauty standards, contributing to eating disorders and depression. And relentless smartphone use is linked to sleep deprivation, self-esteem issues, and thoughts of suicide.
Our children’s wellbeing demands urgent action. Big tech must pay its fair share to address the damage inflicted on a generation of American youth.
The rise in youth suicide over the past decade points to a generational mental health crisis. No parent should have to bury their child due to harms from technology platforms. We must acknowledge the role that profit-driven algorithms play in enacting digital violence.
How We Will Solve The Problem Together
As your Senator, I will hold big tech companies accountable through smart policy solutions:
- Taxing companies’ advertising and digital services revenue to fund youth mental health services.
- Mandating companies bankroll public education campaigns on social media literacy and healthy usage.
- Enacting strict privacy protections and safeguards for minors using digital platforms.
- Creating oversight bodies to monitor platforms’ impacts on mental health and safety.
- Empowering parents with tools to control screen time and block harmful content.
- I will ensure these policies are crafted with input from youth mental health experts, advocates, and parents nationwide. Those closest to the issue must help shape solutions.
Big tech cannot continue to exploit consumers’ data while avoiding responsibility for addressing digital harms. Corporate accountability is key to protecting kids.
How We Will Advance the Issue in Washington, DC and Maryland
In Congress, I will sponsor legislation to levy a mental health tax on big tech’s excessive profits. Maryland’s youth cannot wait for voluntary measures.
I will build bipartisan coalitions recognizing this issue threatens kids across geographic and partisan lines. Protecting children’s wellbeing should transcend politics.
And in Maryland, I will ensure schools have the resources to expand digital literacy education informing smart, safe social media use. Knowledge is power.
The Benefits for America and Maryland
Taxing big tech will provide dedicated funds to expand mental health services and support youth resilience statewide. And greater accountability will spur innovations making platforms safer.
Most importantly, we will send a strong message that big tech’s business model can never again prioritize profit over the wellbeing of our children. Their future must come first.
By putting kids’ health ahead of corporate bottom lines, we can raise a generation empowered to thrive both online and off. Our youth deserve that peace of mind.