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Lambie compares social media to meth

Written by on May 13, 2024

Senator Jacqui Lambie has spoken out claiming social media addiction is as damaging for teenagers as meth.

The Tasmanian senator appeared on the Today Show on Monday where she backed the South Australian Premier‘s push to ban under-14s from social media.

Premier Peter Malinauskas has appointed Robert French, former Chief Justice of the High Court, to examine whether it’s feasible for the state government to ban children under 14 from holding social media accounts and for parental consent to be given for children who are 14 and 15.

It would become the first Australian state to impose a ban, which have been introduced in the US states of Florida and Texas and the nation of Spain.

Ms Lambie argued there was a need for a ban as it was impacting children’s mental health.

“You can’t tell me there is not a connection with the behaviour of our children at the moment, and what is going on in social media

“There’s no way, don’t tell me because I won’t believe you – it’s rubbish.”

Ms Lambie drew a stark comparison between device use and drugs.

“The damage that this is doing to the brains of those kids is no different than having an ice pipe at 15 or 14 in your mouth,” Ms Lambie said.

“It is doing the same damage, the same frontal lobe damage. So there’s a reality check for you parents out there today,” the Senator said.

“And I’ll tell you what. When you’ve been in that situation on the other side with the drug addiction and not tech, and it’s having the same outcome, good luck with you because it is really, really difficult.”

Her adult son fought an addiction to methamphetamine.

Speaking on the Today show later on Monday, the Premier said there had been enough damage being done to young people to now warrant a response from government.

Childhood mental health issues had been getting worse since social media devices proliferated devices with front-facing cameras, he said.

“It warrants a response. And we want to put in this pretty severe measure,” the Premier said

A 15-year-old could not open a sports betting account, and social media should be the same, he said.

The US state of Florida has banned under-14s from social media, but the tech companies are preparing to challenge in court.

“We should anticipate the same here, which is exactly why we’ve gone out and engaged probably the biggest and best legal mind in the country,” Mr Malinauskis said of former Chief Justice French.

“We want to get his skills and advice, about how best to achieve this in a way that it will stack up in a court.”

The South Australian government would look at constitutional powers it could use to restrict social media, and from there look at technical implications, the premier said.