Louisiana lawmakers have approved a bill mandating minors obtain parental consent before creating online accounts, including on social media platforms and multiplayer games.
The measure also allows parents or guardians to delete their child’s existing accounts on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and more starting August 1, 2024.
To become law, the bill must be signed by Governor John Bel Edwards.
If enacted, Louisiana will join Utah and Arkansas as states restricting minors’ access to social media and online applications.
Governor Edwards, a Democrat, has not yet commented on the bill.
Its sponsor, Republican state legislator Laurie Schlegel said it resembles an existing law prohibiting minors from entering into contracts with brick-and-mortar businesses.
Schlegel emphasized that any online contract involving an unemancipated minor without parental consent would be considered null and void.
Utah recently passed a law requiring social-media companies to verify that new users are at least 18 years old or have parental consent.
Effective March 1, 2024, the law grants parents full access to their child’s account.
Arkansas passed a similar law in April, scheduled to go into effect in September.
Other states, including California, are actively developing regulations to safeguard children and adolescents from the potential harms of unregulated online activity.
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Social media companies have raised concerns about age verification laws, citing privacy issues for users needing to disclose sensitive information for verification purposes.
Many platforms already have policies prohibiting children under 13 from accessing their services.
Additionally, most companies implement stronger ad-tracking safeguards and content restrictions for users under 18.
Last month, the US surgeon general warned about the risks posed by social media to young people.
The surgeon general called on policymakers and technology companies to enhance standards for adolescents’ online experiences.