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Georgia kids would need parental permission to join social media if Senate Republicans get their way

by Chloe Baker
3 comments
Parental Consent

Senate Republicans in Georgia are aiming to introduce a law that would mandate parental consent for children to access social media platforms. Similar to regulations in other states, this law would require explicit permission from parents for minors to create accounts on social media sites. The proposal, set to be presented in 2024, could potentially extend its reach to other online services as well.

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Sen. Jason Anavitarte of Dallas, both prominent Republicans in the Georgia state Senate, declared their intention during a news conference on Monday. They emphasize the importance of empowering parents to manage their children’s online activities, citing the fact that many parents lack the knowledge to regulate content effectively.

Anavitarte draws attention to the Louisiana law passed recently, which serves as a model for Georgia’s potential legislation. This law stipulates that social media platforms must verify the age of account holders and cannot permit individuals under 18 years of age to join without the explicit consent of their parents.

This move aligns with other states like Arkansas, Texas, and Utah, which have also passed similar laws this year, requiring parental approval for minors to access social media. At the federal level, there are also discussions about implementing parental consent regulations for minors on online platforms.

The motivation for these laws is tied to concerns about the safety and well-being of young individuals on social media. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned in May about the potential risks posed by social media to young people and called for immediate actions to protect them. He urged tech companies, caregivers, and policymakers to address the issue collaboratively, paralleling the regulation of other safety measures like car seats and baby formula.

Current federal regulations prohibit social media platforms from allowing children under the age of 13 to sign up, yet many youngsters manage to evade these restrictions. According to Pew Research Center, a substantial majority of teenagers aged 13 to 17 use social media platforms, with a significant portion using them frequently.

Anavitarte also aims to bolster Georgia’s laws against cyberbullying. He intends to reintroduce a proposal from 2022 that would oblige schools to warn students and parents about potential criminal consequences related to certain forms of bullying.

Additionally, Anavitarte has had preliminary discussions with Meta Platforms, the company behind Facebook and Instagram. The lawmakers plan to collaborate with the social media giant regarding their proposed regulations.

While these measures are intended to enhance child safety online, critics, including advocates of free speech, express concerns that the regulations could lead to restricted access to information and potentially even make it harder for adults to access certain content. The new laws could potentially require individuals to use government-issued identification to verify their age on these platforms, mirroring requirements already in place on some adult websites due to regulations in states like Louisiana, Utah, and Virginia. However, legal challenges against such laws have been raised, with varying outcomes in different jurisdictions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Parental Consent

What is the proposed law by Senate Republicans in Georgia regarding social media and parental consent?

Senate Republicans in Georgia are aiming to introduce a law that would require parental consent for children to join social media platforms. This means that minors would need explicit permission from their parents to create accounts on these platforms.

Why do Senate Republicans want to implement this law?

The lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Sen. Jason Anavitarte, believe that empowering parents to have control over their children’s online activities is crucial. They argue that many parents lack the necessary knowledge to effectively manage the content their children are exposed to on social media.

Are there similar laws in other states?

Yes, several other states, such as Arkansas, Texas, and Utah, have also passed laws requiring parental consent for minors to access social media platforms. Some lawmakers at the federal level are also discussing similar regulations.

What is the motivation behind these laws?

The concern is primarily centered around the safety and well-being of young individuals on social media platforms. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that social media can pose risks to young people’s mental health and overall well-being. The lawmakers and health experts advocate for measures to protect children in the digital age.

How do existing federal regulations address this issue?

Current federal regulations already prohibit social media platforms from allowing children under the age of 13 to create accounts. However, these regulations are often circumvented by minors.

What other aspects are being considered along with this law?

Aside from parental consent for social media access, Sen. Anavitarte also wants to strengthen laws against cyberbullying in Georgia. He is working on reviving a proposal that would require schools to inform students and parents about the potential criminal consequences of certain forms of bullying.

How are social media companies responding to these proposals?

Some social media companies, like Meta Platforms (owner of Facebook and Instagram), have taken steps to verify users’ ages and provide age-appropriate experiences for teenagers on their platforms. Lawmakers also plan to discuss their proposals with these companies to collaborate on potential implementations.

What concerns do critics have about these proposed laws?

Critics, including advocates of free speech, worry that these regulations might lead to restricted access to information and could potentially hinder adults’ access to certain content. There are also concerns about potential challenges related to privacy and the use of government identification for age verification.

Are legal challenges being raised against these types of laws?

Yes, legal challenges have been raised against similar laws, particularly those related to age verification on certain websites. Some challenges have been dismissed, while others are ongoing. The outcome varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the law.

How prevalent is social media usage among teenagers?

According to Pew Research Center, up to 95% of teenagers aged 13 to 17 report using social media platforms, with more than a third of them stating they use these platforms “almost constantly.”

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3 comments

InfoSeeker23 August 8, 2023 - 11:41 am

wait, hold up! surgeon general ringing alarm bells ’bout social media’s dark side 4 kids? srsly? an’ these georgia peeps, they wanna step in with laws like LA’s? age verification, parent green light. gotta say, it’s a mixed bag of good & uh-ohs.

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SocialMediaJunkie August 8, 2023 - 12:25 pm

omg, like, this is cray cray! georgia’s not alone, huh? heard ’bout arkansas, texas, utah – all want parental nods 4 kiddos 2 surf the social waves. wonder if more states gonna hop on this bandwagon. #ParentGate

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Jake87 August 8, 2023 - 4:15 pm

whoa, so the big shots in Georgia wanna make kids get their folks’ say-so b4 they jump onto socials? parents power, they say. probs ’cause lotsa moms n dads don’t know how 2 manage all that stuff their kids do on there. but y’know, sounds like other states r doing same thing.

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