Amidst growing public concern over social media’s harmful effects on the mental health of teenagers, Utah recently passed legislation to better empower parents to protect their kids online. The new law prohibits social media companies from allowing minors access to their platforms without parental consent and requires social media networks to create a default curfew for minors that only parents can disable. A second law prohibits platforms from employing addictive features or designs.
In a digital age in which 95% of 13- to 17-year-olds own smartphones and 67% of teenagers use TikTok, Utah’s laws are a landmark step. Kids on social media are at much higher risk of developing sleep problems, depression, suicidal ideation, and gender dysphoria. Laws like these can help place the power back in the hands of parents, letting them ultimately decide how and if their kids should be using social media. Still, parents must choose to use that power.
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