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The state of Utah on Thursday became the first in the country to ban minors from creating social media accounts without prior consent from their parents or guardians.
Two laws signed Thursday by the territory’s Republican governor, Spencer Cox, also introduce restrictions on the use of these platforms by minors, such as a digital “curfew” that prevents users from accessing their accounts between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. unless an adult allows them to do so, according to The Hill.
The rules will not go into effect until March 2024, but the governor assured that he will use this time to work together with social media companies to fine-tune the details of their implementation, the media outlet adds.
“Utah is leading the way in holding social media companies accountable – and we’re not letting up anytime soon,” Cox said on Twitter in announcing the signing of the measures.
The second law prohibits these companies from using “designs or features” that could cause addiction among minors. It also facilitates the process for people to report these companies, Cox explained.
The promoters of the legislation explained in an interview on NBC that their motivation for adopting these measures lies in the problems that, in their opinion, social networks cause in the mental health of children.
According to a survey conducted by Common Sense Media in the United States, in 2016 half of 12-year-olds had an account on at least one social network, a figure that dropped to one in four for children between the ages of 8 and 12.