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Utah signs first U.S. state law aimed at limiting teens’ social media access – National

Children and teenagers in Utah will no longer be able to access social media apps such as TikTok without parental consent, and will be barred from accessing other social media apps under the nation’s first law designed to protect young people from addictive apps. You will face limitations.

Two bills Cox signed into law would ban children under the age of 18 from using social media between 10:30 p.m. Demanding confirmation and trying to stop tech companies. Lure kids into the app with addictive features.

The law passed by Utah’s Republican-majority legislature is the latest to reflect how politicians’ perceptions of tech companies are changing, including business-leaning Republicans. will be

Technology giants such as Facebook and Google have seen unbridled growth for more than a decade, but amid concerns about user privacy, hate speech, misinformation and the negative impact on teens’ mental health. , lawmakers are beginning to try to suppress them. On the same day, TikTok’s CEO testified before Congress, among other things he testified about the effects of TikTok on the mental health of his teens.

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But legislation at the federal level has stalled, forcing states to intervene.

Other red states like Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and Louisiana have similar proposals, as well as New Jersey. On the other hand, California last year protected children’s safety by banning tech companies from profiling children or using their personal information in ways that could harm them physically or emotionally. We enacted a law that obliges us to prioritize.

In addition to parental consent clauses, social media companies may need to design new features to comply with parts of the law that prohibit advertising to minors and appearing in search results. there is. Tech companies like TikTok, Snapchat, and Meta, which own Facebook and Instagram, make money from targeted advertising to their users.

What’s not clear from Utah’s bill and others is how the state plans to implement the new regulations. Companies are already prohibited under the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act from collecting data about children under the age of 13 without parental consent. Because of this, social media companies have already banned her children under the age of 13 from signing up on their platforms.

Cox said research shows that time spent on social media “worsens mental health outcomes” for children.

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“We are very optimistic that we will be able to pass legislation not just here in Utah, but across the country that will profoundly change the relationship between these highly destructive social media apps and our children.

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Children’s rights groups generally welcomed the law, but there were some caveats. We welcomed the law aimed at. Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense, said, “Other states are gaining momentum to hold social media companies accountable for making sure children across the country are protected online. I will.”

He noted that California and New Jersey have enacted similar laws, making the safety and mental health of children and teens accountable for creating safer and healthier experiences online. He said he relied on such laws to burden big tech companies.

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But Steyer said the other bill Cox signed would allow parents to access their children’s social media posts, thereby “depriving children of the online privacy protections we advocate.” The law also requires age verification and parental consent when minors create social media accounts, but this is not the root of the problem.”

The law is the latest initiative by Utah legislators to focus on children and the information they can access online. Two years ago, Cox signed a law requiring tech companies to automatically block porn on the phones and tablets they sell, citing the danger porn poses to children. Amid concerns over enforcement, legislators in the devout state amended the bill so that it would not go into effect unless similar laws were passed in five of her other states.

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Social media regulation comes as parents and lawmakers are increasingly concerned about the use of children and teenagers and how platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are affecting the mental health of young people. Was born.

It is set to go into effect in March 2024, and Cox has previously said he expects social media companies to challenge it in court.

Tech industry lobbyists were quick to denounce these laws as unconstitutional, saying they violated the rights of people to exercise the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution online.

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“Utah will soon require online services to collect sensitive information about teens and family members not only to verify age, but also to verify paternity such as government-issued IDs and birth certificates. , would expose their personal data to exposure,” said Nicole Saad. Ms. Bembridge is Associate Director of her NetChoice, a tech lobby group.

Ortutay reported from Oakland, California.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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