The governor of Utah signed a bill that would legally require parental permission to let children interact with social media.
Utah is now the first state in America to introduce new laws limiting children’s social media use. Utah’s governor signed a bill requiring children to get the permission of a parent or guardian before accessing social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter.
The new laws stop kids under the age of eighteen from using social media at certain times. It also requires the user to verify their age to use the sites within the state of Utah. These measures were implemented to stop tech companies from grooming children to be addicted to their platforms. The implementation of these laws shows that many politicians and citizens are changing their opinion of these internet-based sites.
Social media companies have enjoyed a steady stream of growth over the last decade, but as many people have concerns over privacy, bullying, misinformation, and the general mental health of adults as well as kids. Government officials are trying to step in and regulate their use more. As the legislation has been paused once again on a federal scale, individual states had to step in to make the changes independently.
Not only is Utah implementing such rules, other states, such as Ohio and California, are making similar changes to combat social media’s negative impact on kids’ daily lives.
California implemented a rule in 2022 that prohibits social media companies from profiling children or using their personal information in any way that may cause them mental or physical harm.
Social media companies will have to design new features to comply with these new laws so that no advertisements are shown to anyone under the age of eighteen and that they will not come up in anyone’s search bar that is not friends with them. This will be a blow to all social media companies as they make a massive percentage of their money from advertising to everyone using their platforms.
While this is a step in the right direction, social media companies will have to make it harder for children to sign up under false pretenses or use fake information. These laws come as a package and can only be successfully implemented with the help of proactive parents and social media companies.
Copious amounts of studies show that prolonged periods on social media can damage children’s mental health. Many companies and non-profits praise Utah for implementing these laws and hope that other states will follow suit and do the same. This will ensure kids nationwide are protected from the addictive features of social media and give them a healthier relationship with technology.
These new laws are just the latest move from Utah lawmakers as they attempt to redesign children’s relationship with technology. Two years ago, another rule that blocked porn on any new phone or tablet sold was implemented to protect children from seeing it accidentally. Due to concerns about this law, it will only go into effect if five other states pass the same law.
The new laws are expected to come into effect in March 2024, but it is the first step to a healthier future for the children of Utah and hopefully nationwide.