Headline RoundupMarch 24th, 2023

Utah Approves New Social Media Restrictions Aimed at Protecting Minors

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed two bills on Thursday placing several new restrictions on minors’ social media use, including requiring parental consent for minors to create accounts.

The Details: The bills, H.B. 311 and S.B. 152, also require social media platforms to verify the ages of Utah users, grant parents access to their children’s social media posts, and restrict access to minors’ accounts between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. Furthermore, H.B. 311 fines social media companies $2,500 for each Utah minor exposed to features found to have caused addiction to their platforms. The laws will not take effect until March 2024. 

For Context: Utah is the first U.S. state to approve these kinds of regulations. Gov. Cox has defended the new laws by accusing social media companies of “killing our kids,” adding, “It’s the addictive qualities of social media that are intentionally being placed by these companies to get our kids addicted, and they know it’s harming them.” Health officials have noted significant declines in teen mental health, particularly among girls, since the rise of major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was common in major outlets across the spectrum. Coverage varied on framing the laws as aiming to “protect” young people from harm or to “restrict” their social media use; this difference did not appear to correlate with bias ratings. 

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