Utah Social Media Law to Require Parental Consent, Curfews, and Ad Restrictions for Minors
Anyone under 18 will have to acquire parental consent to join social media platforms in Utah as of Mar. 1, 2024.
S.B. 152 Social Media Regulation Amendments, signed by Governor Spencer Cox on Mar. 23, 2023, will also require social media companies to implement curfews for minors, blocking anyone under 18 from using the platforms between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. The law also requires social media platforms to remove all ads from the accounts of minors and allow parents access to the accounts.
Utah State Senator Michael McKell, the bill’s sponsor, states: “When it comes down to it, [the bill] is about protecting our children. As a lawmaker and parent, I believe this bill is the best path forward to prevent our children from succumbing to the negative and sometimes life-threatening effects of social media.”
Not everyone is pleased with the law, however. Jason Kelley, director of activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argues: “Social media provides a lifeline for many young people, in addition to community, education, and conversation. They use it in part because it can be private…. The law, which would limit social media access and require parental consent and monitoring for minors, will incalculably harm the ability of young people to protect their privacy and deter them from exercising their rights.”
Utah’s law will serve as something of a guinea pig as social media platforms figure out how to implement the changes and the government figures out how to enforce the law. Similar laws are under consideration in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas.
1. Should the government (at any level) limit teens’ social media use? If no, why not? If yes, what limitations should be imposed and why?
2. Should parents have access to teens’ social media accounts? Why or why not?
3. Should a curfew be imposed on teens’ social media use? What about other Internet use? Other technology use? Explain your answer(s).
Associated Press, “Utah’s New Social Media Law Means Children Will Need Approval from Parents,” npr.org, Mar. 24, 2023
Samantha Murphy Kelly, “Utah Governor Signs Bill Requiring Teens to Get Parental Approval to Join Social Media Sites,” cnn.com, Mar. 23, 2023