Georgia kids would need parental permission to join social media under new Senate proposal

Republican Georgia state Senator Jason Anavitarte said during a Monday news conference that “It’s important that we empower parents. A lot of parents don’t know how to restrict content.” The issue was limiting youngsters’ access to social media. Anavitarte was joined by Republican Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones at the news conference where they informed they will seek to pass a law in 2024 imposing restrictions for youngsters for social media access. As reported, the proposal could also restrict accounts on other online services.

Georgia could join other states requiring children to have their parents’ explicit permission to create social media accounts. According to Anavitarte, “Georgia’s rules would be modeled on a law Louisiana passed this year.” That legislation, which takes effect in 2024, mandates that “social media services must verify an account holder’s age and can’t let someone younger than 18 join without parental consent.”

Background for this proposed Georgia legislation informs that Arkansas, Texas and Utah also passed laws this year “requiring parental consent for children to use social media.” As reported, “California last year enacted a law requiring online services to do more to protect children’s privacy and safety.”

Alleging that he had contact with Meta Platforms, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, Anavitarte said he Jones “would discuss plans with the social media giant.”

US government agencies have expressed concern regarding youngsters using social media. The legislation in some states “comes after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned in May that social media hasn’t been proven to be safe for young people.” Murthy called on tech companies, parents and caregivers to take “immediate action to protect kids now.” He asked tech companies to “share data and increase transparency and for policymakers to regulate social media for safety the way they do car seats and baby formula.”

To comply with federal regulation, as reported, social media companies already ban kids under 13 from signing up to their platforms, but “children have been shown to easily evade the bans.” Up to 95% of teens aged 13 to 17 report using a social media platform, with more than a third saying they use them “almost constantly,” the Pew Research Center found.

Anavitarte added he “wants to strengthen Georgia’s law on cyberbullying. Existing law requires any student found to have engaged in bullying three times be sent to an alternative school. Anavitarte said he wants to revive his 2022 proposal requiring schools to warn students and parents that some acts of bullying could lead to criminal stalking penalties.”

D & B Staff

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