Utah Governor Signs Bill Requiring Parental Permission for under 16’s before Joining Social Media
The bill also places a responsibility on social media platforms to ensure that younger users are protected from apps that are designed to be ‘addictive’, with fines of up to $250,000 ‘for each practice, design, or feature shown to have caused addiction.' If you are affected by anything touched on within this article, follow the links to our various support services or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to start using Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox has recently passed a controversial new bill which is hoped will reduce the potential risks of social media to children under the age of 16.
The new bill, called the Utah Social Media Regulation Act, will require social media platforms to conduct age-verification for all Utah residents, ban all advertising for minors, and introduce a curfew which makes their site off limits to anyone under 18, between the hours of 10.30 pm and 6.30 am. The bill will also require parental permission for anyone under the age of 16 who wants to join a social media platform, as well as requiring platforms to provide parental access to their children’s accounts.
Senator Michael McKell, who first introduced the bill, commented on the need for action in the face of mounting evidence that suggests young people using social media platforms can develop unhealthy and potentially harmful mental health issues such as suicide ideation, depression and anxiety, stating that, “As a lawmaker and parent, I believe this bill is the best path forward to prevent our children from succumbing to the negative effects of social media.”
The bill also places a responsibility on social media platforms to ensure that younger users are protected from apps that are designed to be ‘addictive’, with fines of up to $250,000 ‘for each practice, design, or feature shown to have caused addiction.’
Concerns over the proposed bill have been voiced by groups advocating for digital privacy and free-speech, with some suggesting that the changes are “dangerous”, and could result in young people who may not have good relationships with their parents, having their privacy and freedom to connect with peers or support groups on social media restricted or removed completely.
Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the Chamber of Progress, a tech industry lobbying group, voiced his concerns regarding the proposed bill, commenting that “Requiring age verification is going to impact the privacy of all users in Utah, because social media sites will be forced to gather additional personal information, but the biggest victim of today’s legislation is going to be young adults living in a household without supportive parents. For young people who identify as LGBTQ or who live in abusive households, these bills could isolate them from supportive communities online.”
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