New Utah Law Requires Parental Consent When Kids Use Social Media – One America News Network

(Photo by Jewel Samad/staff via Getty Images)

OAN Brooke Mallory
Updated 4:31 PM – Friday, March 24, 2023

Gov. Spencer Cox, a Utah Republican, signed two bills on Thursday requiring parental approval before children sign up for social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. This makes Utah the first state to enact a law restricting how children use social media.

In addition, two bills signed by Cox prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from using social media in the state between 10:30 p.m. The age verification function is required for those who do. Use these apps.

Cox retweeted a post by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, to celebrate the new law.

The aim is reportedly to stop tech companies from luring young people into their apps with their “addictive” aspect.

The law enacted by Utah’s Republican-majority legislature is the latest example of how lawmakers’ opinions of Internet companies are changing, especially among business-minded conservatives.

Despite more than a decade of unbridled expansion for technology companies such as Facebook and Google, lawmakers are now trying to control them due to concerns about teen mental health, hate speech and user privacy.

CEO of TikTok testified before Congress On the same day the Utah law was signed into law, we discussed TikTok’s impact on the mental health of teenagers.

But federal law has stalled, forcing states to act.

Similar plans are being considered in other red states, including Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and Louisiana. Even some blue states, such as New Jersey, have joined efforts to combat the potential harm of social media.

Last year, California asked technology companies and digital businesses to make child safety a priority by banning them from profiling or using personal data in ways that could cause physical or emotional harm to children. I have passed the law you ask.

Additionally, when it comes to rules that require parental consent, social media companies will need to create additional features to comply with laws against advertising to children and being displayed in search results.

Companies like TikTok, Snapchat, and Meta, which own Facebook and Instagram, derive most of their money from advertising targeted to app users.

under the Commonwealth Children’s Internet Privacy Protection Act, companies are already prohibited from collecting data on children under the age of 13 without parental approval. For this reason, social media companies currently prohibit children under the age of 13 from signing up on their platforms. Still, young people can easily circumvent this restriction, with or without their parents’ permission.

The governor highlighted a study that found that spending too much time on social media for children under 18 “has a negative impact on their mental health.”

“I’m very optimistic that we can pass legislation, not just here in Utah, but across the country, that will profoundly change the relationship between children and these highly destructive social media apps,” Cox said.

Despite some limitations, child advocacy groups generally supported the measure.

The ruling, intended to curb the addiction of social media, was lauded: common sense mediais a non-profit organization focused on children and technology.

Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense, said the new measure would “force other states to hold social media companies accountable for ensuring that children across the nation are protected online.” It will gain momentum,” he said.

The safety and mental health of children under 18 and teens depend on laws like this that hold big tech companies accountable for providing safer and healthier online experiences, Steyer said. and noted that similar legislation is being considered in various states.

However, Steyer continued, social media “could deprive children of the online privacy protections we advocate. We are asking for parental consent, but this is not the root of the problem. Platform.”

These regulations are the latest attempt by Utah legislators to address the problem of children and the online information they can access. Because of the danger to minors, Cox signed into law two years before him, requiring tech companies to immediately ban porn on all working smartphones and tablets.

Enforcement concerns prompted legislators from zealous religious states to change the bill so that it would not go into effect unless five other states enacted corresponding laws.

The media law was enacted at a time when parents and lawmakers are more concerned about the use of platforms by children and teenagers and how sites like TikTok, Instagram and others are harming the mental health of younger generations. it was done.

Full enforcement is expected next March, and Cox has already said he expects social media companies to file lawsuits to overturn it.

IT department lobbyists were quick to denounce the law as illegal, arguing that it limits people’s ability to exercise their First Amendment rights online.

Nicole Saad Bembridge, associate director of tech lobby group NetChoice, expressed major concerns about the new law.

“Utah will soon mandate online services that not only verify age, but also collect sensitive information about teens and family members to verify paternity, such as government-issued identification and birth certificates. and expose their personal data to compromise.”

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