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Utah Mandates Parental Consent for Children's Social Media Usage

Picture: AP

On Thursday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed two bills aimed at regulating children and teenagers' social media usage.

The first bill, S.B. 152, requires social media platforms to verify users' age, with those under 18 requiring the consent of a parent or guardian to open an account. The law also grants parents full access to their minor's account.

The second bill, H.B. 311, prohibits social media companies from employing design or features that could lead minors to become addicted to their platform. The Governor claims that this law makes it easier for users to sue social media companies. Mr. Cox tweeted that they would no longer allow social media companies to harm young people's mental health.

Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, stated that it aims to keep teens safe and has developed over 30 tools to support them and their families. Representatives for TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube did not respond immediately to requests for comment. The new regulations signed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox have received opposition from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil-liberties group.

The nonprofit expressed concern that the age-verification law could make internet access less private and less secure while violating First Amendment rights. The laws require social-media companies to prevent minors from receiving messages from unknown users and to limit their access to accounts during specified hours. Ads are also prohibited on minors’ accounts.

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