Utah Is First US State to Limit Teen Social Media Access

Posted on 26th of March 2023 | 358 words

Utah has become the first US state to require social media firms get parental consent for children to use their apps and verify users are at least 18.

The bills will give parents full access to their children’s online accounts, including posts and private messages. The move comes amidst heightened concern over the impact of social media on children’s mental health. Under the measures enacted on Thursday, a parent or guardian’s explicit consent will be needed before children can create accounts on apps such Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

I feel that most of us can agree that social media has had a very bad impact on our youth and adults alike. Mental health issues have risen linearly with the usage of social media. People’s attention span has decreased constantly due to the nature of the applications and how they grab your attention. Of course, what I’m referring here is Big Tech social media. So in many ways, banning social media would be a good idea.

But this is dangerous game US is playing. When you’re proposing something like this, the proposal can be easily applied to many other online communities that can be tremendously helpful for many. Great example for something like this is various LGBT communities online which might be the only safe haven for many, especially those living under strict regime or conservative surroundings. Can this sort of bill also ban those? Will teenagers using these sort of “social medias” be outed then?

Similar concerns are raised by Common Sense Media:

But Common Sense Media and other advocacy groups warned some parts of the new legislation could put children at risk.

Ari Z Cohn, a free speech lawyer for TechFreedom, said the bill posed “significant free speech problems”.

“There are so many children who might be in abusive households,” he told the BBC, “who might be LGBT, who could be cut-off from social media entirely.”

So time will tell how this will turn out. Personally I would be more comfortable to see more strict restrictions to be applied for these sort of companies, instead of giving the state/parents a right to go through their children’s messages.