(RepublicanNews.org) – New Utah laws will restrict children from using social media at night and will require those platforms to verify the age of anyone wanting to use social media in the state.
The laws are set to take effect in March of 2024, but social media companies are nearly certain to sue before that happens. Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed two new laws on March 23rd.
Under the new laws, anyone under 18 cannot use social media between 10:30 pm and 6:30 am. All social media users, regardless of age, will have to prove they are 18 years of age or older.
The new laws will likely also lead to lawsuits filed on behalf of children claiming to have been harmed.
The new Utah laws come at a time of increasing parental and government concern over the effects social media has on children. Addictive and engrossing apps like TikTok, which feature short videos from users, have drawn attention because of their addictive nature. Parents and teachers report that children adopt trends almost instantly when their social media use is heavy, and some of them are physically dangerous or likely to worsen their mental health, according to this view.
While the federal government has banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices, these regulations do not apply to anyone but government workers using government-owned electronics. Individual states are taking up the cause, with Arkansas, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, and New Jersey considering similar legislation.
In 2022, California barred tech companies from building demographic profiles of children and banned them from using children’s personal information in ways that would harm their physical or mental health. It is unclear how effective such laws can be.
Utah’s newly enacted laws require social media companies to give parents access to and control over social media accounts used by their children. The legislation will also allow parents to sue these companies over allegations of harm caused by their products.
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