Social for minors with parental consent only

Minors are allowed to use social networks only with the express consent of their parents. The tightening decision taken to protect the youth of the state in Utah, the first country to take a similar decision in the USA. Under the ruling sought by Governor Spencer Cox, apps like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok will have to verify that all their users are at least 18 years old, and in the absence of this verification, approval from legal guardians will be required. . “We will no longer allow social media companies to continue to harm the mental health of our young people. As leaders and parents, we have a responsibility to protect them,” Cox said.

The measure, which will come into effect from March 1, 2024, comes amid growing concerns over the impact of social media on youth mental health. Under the measures taken yesterday, parents will have full access to their online profiles, including their posts and private messages, in addition to requiring permission before any child accounts can be created. At the same time, curfew will be applied to these accounts and unless this setting is changed by the parents, access to social networks will be blocked between 22:30 in the evening and 6:30 in the morning. Under the law, social media companies will no longer be able to collect a child’s data or be targeted for advertising, the BBC said.

Children’s advocacy group Commons Sense Media welcomed the governor’s move, calling it “a great victory for Utah’s children and families.” “This gives impetus to other states to hold social media companies accountable,” said the group’s founder and director, in hopes this could be an incentive for other governments as well. Four other Republican-led states (Arkansas, Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana) and New Jersey (Democrat-led) are examining similar regulations.

However, TechFreedom’s attorney Ari Cohn said there are also shadows behind the project, particularly regarding “significant freedom of expression issues” that the law may raise. Various civil rights groups have expressed fears that such a measure could isolate further marginalized youth, including LGBT+ youth, who will be excluded from online support and information networks. According to critics, the same thing can happen to children who are victims of domestic violence and therefore have less means to seek help.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has ensured that it has robust tools available in other countries to guarantee compliance with rules regarding the minimum age of its users. “We’ve developed more than 30 tools to support youth and families, and age verification technology that helps young people have experiences that suit them,” said a company spokesperson.

It remains unclear how companies can ensure compliance with the new rules. In fact, federal law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, already prohibits companies from collecting data on minors under the age of 13 without parental consent, but in reality, children can easily access various apps even without permission, jeopardizing the effective implementation of the standard. .

In Europe, France made a similar proposal, banning the use of social media for children under the age of 15. The measure proposed by Center MP Laurent Marcangeli aims to “protect young people from all these negative physical and psychological side effects from the use of apps like Instagram, Whatsapp and TikTok (as well as Twitter and Facebook)”. MPs of the Horizons group to which Marcangeli belongs. Again in this case, as in Utah, however, there would be no absolute ban, since it would be sufficient to obtain permission from both parents to access social networks. France’s initiative was also appreciated by Carla Garlatti, owner of the Childhood and Adolescence Foundation in Italy, but besides finding it more accurate to raise the threshold to 16 years, the best solution is some sort of Spid, an online recognition system for a minor first. In this way, “companies will have no doubt about the accuracy of data provided by individual users,” Garlatti said.

Source: Today IT