A person looks at a cell phone in front of a screen with a number of social media logos on it. Photo/REUTERS
UTAH – Utah became the first US state to require parental consent for teens who want to use social media apps in an effort to protect young people.
Governor Spencer Cox signed two pieces of legislation on Thursday (23/3/2023), limiting minors’ access to popular apps such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
The law will require social media companies to obtain parental consent before allowing children under 18 to create accounts on their apps and will give parents full access to their children’s online accounts, including private posts and messages.
Social media companies will also be prohibited from advertising to minors and prohibited from using techniques that could cause them to develop an “addiction” to the platform.
They will also be prohibited from collecting information about, or targeting content at, minors.
The law introduces a social media curfew that will block children from accessing apps between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. unless this is adjusted by their parents.
The law is expected to enter into force on March 1, 2024, and social media companies that fail to comply with it could face civil and criminal penalties.
“Rates of youth depression and other mental health problems are on the rise, and social media companies know their products are toxic. They designed their app to be addicting,” Governor Cox said in a Twitter post.
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