Controversial Law in Utah: Parental Consent Required for Kids on Social Media

Utah, along with several other states, has taken steps to protect the mental stability and safety of its minor population.
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Utah, along with several other states, has taken steps to protect the mental stability and safety of its minor population.

Parents are now required to provide their consent for any youth under the age of 18 before they are allowed to access content on social media sites.

NBC News reports, Governor Spencer Cox signed two pieces of sweeping social media legislation into law Thursday, making Utah the first state in the country to require social media companies to obtain parental consent from minors using their services.

Four other states and Congress are considering versions of the regulations.

Social media companies must verify the age of Utah residents who make social media profiles and get parental consent for minors who wish to make profiles under the new laws HB 311 and SB 152. Additionally, they require social media companies to allow parents access to their child’s posts and messages.

The laws also prohibit social media companies from displaying ads to minors, showing minor accounts in search results, collecting information about minors, targeting or suggesting content to minors, or knowingly integrating addictive technologies into social media apps used by minors. They also impose a curfew on the use of social media for minors, locking them out of their social media accounts between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. based on the location of a user’s device, unless adjusted with the consent of a parent.

Despite widespread theorizing, Utah’s laws are in the context of ongoing debates about the impact of social media on young people’s mental health. Concerns about the mental health of young women have been labelled a crisis among young people.

After March 1, 2024, social media companies are subject to civil and criminal penalties if they fail to comply with the laws.

Utah parents, take note! In an effort to protect young people, the Governor recently passed a law requiring parental consent for minors to use social media. This decision reflects the concerns of inappropriate and unsafe content available through such platforms that could impact the mental stability and safety of developing minds. Such inappropriate exposure can put young adults at risk of being preyed upon by predators and other malicious individuals. We must all do our part in ensuring the fragility of our children’s futures is protected from inappropriate material accessible by social media.

Next News Network Team

Next News Network Team

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