Utah social media law means kids need approval from parents
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.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 24, 2023
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.