Protecting Kids Online: Legislative Summary
By: Clare Morell & Adam Candeub and Michael Toscano
In the past year, four states—Utah, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas—have passed social-media parental-consent laws based on ideas put forward in a joint report from the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Institute for Family Studies, titled “Protecting Teens from Big Tech” (August 2022). These laws have important differences. Some include requiring full parental access or certain parental tools, some limit certain features for minor accounts, and others provide expansive exemptions. The upshot of this is that some laws are stronger than others. Evaluating the different provisions is important, as these laws are being challenged in court. In light of recent litigation and other states’ desires to pass similar laws, Clare Morell, Adam Candeub, and Michael Toscano have put together a model bill for states to use, drawing on aspects of Utah’s initial legislation and incorporating key edits and provisions—based on the recent injunction against Arkansas’s law—to strengthen it against legal challenges. The underlying approach of their model bill—the same as the laws passed thus far—is to require (1) online platforms to age-verify their users in the respective state and (2) obtain parental consent for a minor to open or operate a social media account if a user is under the age of 18. The goal is to restore parental authority and rights over children’s online behavior.
Citizens for Renewing America co-authored the following report with the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Institute for Family Studies.
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