Utah’s governor signed a controversial bill into law Thursday that would require minors to obtain a guardian’s consent before joining social media platforms, marking the most aggressive move yet by state or federal lawmakers. to protect minors online.
As part of the bill, called the Utah Social Media Regulation Act, social media platforms will have to verify the age of all Utah residents, ban all ads to minors, and impose a curfew, banning their sites. between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., for anyone under the age of 18. The bill will also require social platforms to give parents access to their teens’ accounts.
The legislation, which was introduced by Republican Senator Michael McKell and approved by Republican Governor Spencer Cox, will take effect on March 1, 2024.
“When it comes down to it, [the bill] is about protecting our children,” McKell said in a statement to CNN, citing how depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation have “drastically increased” among teens in Utah and throughout the United States along with the growth of social networking sites. “As a legislator and a parent, I believe this bill is the best way forward to prevent our children from succumbing to the negative and sometimes deadly effects of social media.”