Utah social media law means kids need approval from parents

Mar 24, 2023

Children in Utah will need their parents' permission if they want to access social media platforms

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed two new laws in Utah yesterday in an attempt to promote youth mental health and stop companies from promoting harmful products. Under the new laws, parents will need to approve their children creating accounts and accessing social media. While many parents are in favor of this move, giant tech companies feel it will lock many residents in the state from using social platforms. The biggest concern is TikTok at the moment.

As it stands, the law only prohibits teens from accessing social media between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. That means they’ll get the sleep they need to be more prepared for school and exams. Also, it’s during that time slot that harmful information really sinks in, and exhaustion causes a loss of control of what is said and done.

Another part of the new laws enforces age verification, which leads to using government IDs to confirm who and how old they are. This is where many are concerned about privacy issues, as they aren’t sure exactly what other data will be collected. However, it also means that teens can open lawsuits if any social platform leads to any form of harm, especially mental or emotional.

For the most part, Cox says that the laws are being put into place to prevent adverts from luring children to harmful acts or products. There is encouragement for advertising companies not to promote such products in their ads where age has been confirmed, but there’s no faith that apps like TikTok or Instagram will put something in place.

Children have been finding ways of creating accounts on TikTok despite being underage, and Cox says it’s no longer acceptable that age not be verified. While parents are mostly satisfied with the new legislation, digital agencies state that it’s a move in the wrong direction.

Still, it looks like other states and cities may soon follow Utah’s example, such as Arkansas, Texas, New York, Louisiana, and Ohio. NetChoice’s Associate Director, Nicole Bembridge, shared her concerns:

“Utah will soon require online services to collect sensitive information about teens and families, not only to verify ages, but to verify parental relationships, like government-issued IDs and birth certificates, putting their private data at risk of breach.”

I guess time will tell how much the new Utah laws will help children that claim to be having mental health issues due to social media.



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  1. Jek they/them Porkins said on March 25, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  2. John C. said on March 25, 2023 at 11:29 am

    This article is political. There is enough politics elsewhere that we don’t need this kind of thing here. This is supposed to be a tech website, and that’s why I read it every day. If politics are going to creep into this website and this page the way advertising seems to be doing, then I’m going to delete the ghacks bookmark.

    1. Tom Hawack said on March 25, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      Political? Unrelated to technology? Nothing political in considering children’s health, nothing unrelated to technology considering children’s health here is not that of avoiding fast-food and soft-drinks but that of their mental stability related to addiction to social sites (night-time). The Governor’s political etiquette has nothing to do with good sense unless for those who’d tie what is done with who does it as the main subject of an article.

      The article is welcomed, in my view totally subscribes to the requisites of a technological site. Technology is not only code it’s also a fundamental element of today’s life.

      1. John G. said on March 25, 2023 at 2:59 pm

        @Tom Hawack +1

  3. Tachy said on March 25, 2023 at 6:29 am

    The real reason behind this is the big tech companies aren’t doing what the politicians tell them too.

    The politicians only “care about kids” insofar as they can profit off them and don’t like ‘big tech’ stealing from their candy jar.

    I agree 100% with basingstroke too, parents need to parent and stop blaming others for their own apathy.

  4. Graham said on March 25, 2023 at 6:28 am

    COPPA has existed for over two decades. This law feels rather redundant.

  5. basingstoke said on March 24, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    “Kids” should literally not be on social media, and if they should be, it must be moderated (overseen by parents).

    This does not happen, because parents are lazy, so I guess government steps in:

    Best case scenario: parents get 1% more involved in what their kids are doing online

    Worst case scenario: nothing happens, nobody cares

    1. Deep_Fried_Desk said on March 24, 2023 at 9:22 pm

      Everyone in power wants kids on social media so they can become brainwashed zombies addicted to dopamine who will one day be obedient slaves and consumerists. Work, don’t ask question, get paid, buy useless crap.

      “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

    2. John G. said on March 24, 2023 at 9:05 pm


    3. Anonymous said on March 24, 2023 at 7:14 pm

      Worst case scenario: people get used to using government IDs everywhere and online anonymity dies

      1. Anonymous said on March 27, 2023 at 6:38 pm

        Anonymous, I hadn’t considered that angle, thanks for bringing it up.

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