[Photo Credit: By Utah Reps - https://www.flickr.com/photos/utahreps/28342843559/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=108818211]

Utah Governor Approves New Restrictions on Youth Social Media Use

On Thursday, Republican Utah Governor Spencer Cox reportedly signed legislation that would control children’s usage of social media.

This comes at a time when members in Congress are also questioning the impact that the Chinese backed ‘TikTok’ app has on children and how it may ultimately affect national security.

According to Cox, the goal of the new restrictions, which included not allowing a juvenile to register a social media account without the approval of a parent, is to safeguard the mental health of children and teenagers.

It is anticipated that the legislation, which is the first of its sort to be passed anywhere in the country, would be contested in the courts by social media corporations.

In the first few months of this year, the legislature of Utah, which is controlled by Republicans, voted to approve House Bill 311 and Senate Bill 152.

A prohibition on the use of social media by minors between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. is one of the provisions of the new legislation, which will take effect in 2024.

Parents will be free to make exceptions to this rule.

In addition, under the terms of the new rule, minors will not be able to be found in search results, nor will they be able to receive direct messages from users that they are not friends with or following.

A clause in House Bill 311 gives minors the legal right to sue for damages resulting from their usage of social media.

According to the government of Utah, anyone less than 16 years old shall be subject to a presumption of harm unless it can be demonstrated differently.

Lobbyists for the IT industry have asserted that the proposed law would constitute a breach of the First Amendment and that the regulations might put individuals’ private data at risk.

Other states, such as Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and New Jersey, are also considering legislation that would enhance the amount of oversight placed on the usage of social media by children and teenagers.

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