Kids Will Need Permission From Parents To Access Social Media Apps In This US State!

Sheetal Bhalerao

Sheetal Bhalerao

Mar 27, 2023

In a latest development, the children and teens in Utah would lose access to social media apps such as TikTok if they don’t have parental consent and face other restrictions.

Kids Will Need Permission From Parents To Access Social Media Apps In This US State!

Shielding Young Generation From Addictive Platforms

All these changes are implemented under a first-in-the-nation law designed to shield the young generation from the addictive platforms.

This is basically about two laws signed by Republican Gov. Spencer Cox Thursday.

These laws prohibit kids under 18 from using social media between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., requires age verification for anyone who wants to use social media in the state and opens the door to lawsuits on behalf of children claiming social media harmed them. 

Basically, their main focus is to prevent children from being lured to apps by addictive features and from having ads promoted to them.

Further, these companies are expected to sue before the laws take effect in March 2024.

Why Would This Happen?

These actions against social media in Utah’s Republican-supermajority Legislature is the latest reflection of how politicians’ perceptions of technology companies has changed, including among typically pro-business Republicans.

So far, the tech giants such as Facebook and Google have enjoyed unbridled growth for over a decade.

However, the concerns over user privacy, hate speech, misinformation and harmful effects on teens’ mental health, lawmakers have made Big Tech attacks a rallying cry on the campaign trail and begun trying to rein them in once in office. 

Interestingly, Utah’s law was signed on the same day TikTok’s CEO testified before Congress about, among other things, the platform’s effects on teenagers’ mental health.

Although, legislation has stalled on the federal level, pushing states to step in.

The picture is the same outside of Utah as lawmakers in red states including Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and Louisiana and blue states including New Jersey are advancing similar proposals. 

Kids Safety First

In the meantime, California enacted a law last year requiring tech companies to put kids’ safety first by barring them from profiling children or using personal information in ways that could harm children physically or mentally.

Besides this, the new Utah laws also require that parents be given access to their child’s accounts. 

Further, they also outline rules for people who want to sue over harms they claim the apps cause. 

If these rules are implemented, lawsuits against social media companies involving kids under 16 will shift the burden of proof and require social media companies to show their products weren’t harmful, not the other way around.

This will affect Social media companies as they will have to design new features to comply with parts of the laws that prohibit promoting ads to minors and showing them in search results.

So far, social media giants such as TikTok, Snapchat and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, make most of their money by targeting advertising to their users. 

This latest wave of legislation and its focus on age verification has garnered pushback from technology companies as well as digital privacy groups known for blasting their data collection practices.

Sheetal Bhalerao
Sheetal Bhalerao
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