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Children and teens under 18 in Louisiana may soon need their parents’ permission to sign up for online accounts, including for social media, games and more, under a newly passed bill in the state.

The measure, which still needs to be signed by the state’s governor in order to take effect, follows the trend of laws in conservative states such as Utah And Arkansas which seeks to limit teens’ unrestricted access to social media. Liberal states like California as well as some Democratic lawmakers in Congress are working on new regulations to protect children from some of the harmful effects of social media.

While protecting children online is a shared value across the board, tech companies and many civil society groups opposed to the industry have warned on other matters that such legislation ignores the positive effects social media can have, especially for marginalized youth. They also warn that the new restrictions could have unintended harmful effects on children, such as limiting the resources they have to turn to to help out from negative home lives and forcing technology platforms to collect more information about both children and adults to ensure compliance based on age. . .

still The vote is unanimous in both chambers From the Louisiana legislature confirms the popularity of legislation aimed at protecting children from harm online.

The bill would also spell out agreements made by minors when they were registered in existing accounts that could be deemed void. State law already requires parents or legal guardians Contracts can be cancelled Their children sign up.

NetChoice, a group representing Internet platforms incl AmazonAnd GoogleAnd meta and TikTok, she said she opposes the Louisiana bill and hopes the governor will veto it. NetChoice currently He sued the state of California For an age-appropriate design code that has similar goals to protect children from harm online, due to alleged First Amendment issues. NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo said in a statement that the Louisiana bill also violates the First Amendment.

“This will eliminate anonymous browsing and gaming – requiring citizens to hand over data to prove their identity and age just to use an online service. Anonymity can be important to individuals who use social media services for things like whistleblowers, victims and those who identify crimes in the neighborhood.” who fears a backlash.” “Worse, it fails to address the underlying issues. Instead, Louisiana policymakers can help teens and parents by following the educational methods of Virginia and Florida.”

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the bill. If he chooses to sign, it will enter into force in August 2024.

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