Minors in Texas now need parental consent to access social media

Jun 16, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Minors in Texas now need parental consent to access social media

Jun 16, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Teens in Texas are about to face some changes in their online activities. After Utah and Louisiana, Texas is also about to require parental consent for kids under 18 to access social media. This new law is called HB 18, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed it on Wednesday. And it’s definitely coming, taking effect on September 1, 2023.

New parental controls and age verification

Under HB 18, online platforms will need to verify the ages of all minors (like they do now) and obtain parental consent before allowing kids to create an account. If platforms fail to comply, they could face legal action from the state attorney general or private lawsuits from parents who report violations. And as you may remember, it wouldn’t be the first time.

“Online platforms have been collecting data and manipulating our children’s online behavior,” the Texas House Republican Caucus tweeted on Thursday. This bill is supposed to put control over their children’s online activities into parents’ hands. Well, at least only until they let the kids have their social media accounts.

On top of verifying the ages of minors and obtaining parental consent, online platforms will also be responsible for creating new parental controls. The law requires them to develop a portal to communicate with parents about their minor’s online activity. Additionally, platforms must make it easier for parents to monitor their child’s behavior and control their activity on the platform.

Requirements from the social media

To protect minors from harmful content, this law makes platforms responsible for restricting minors’ access to materials that promote suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse, stalking, bullying, harassment, grooming, trafficking, child sexual abuse, and other forms of exploitation or abuse. This includes developing a strategy to maintain a comprehensive list of harmful material and blocking it from display to confirmed minors. Platforms will need to hire actual people to review and verify the effectiveness of content filters, rather than relying solely on algorithms. If platforms fail to meet these requirements, they will face periodic audits to ensure that content filters are functioning optimally and effectively protecting children.

The new Texas law also requires platforms to make their algorithms more transparent to users. They must clearly disclose in their terms of service or privacy policies how algorithms organize and filter content. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri already talked about it several times, although, to be honest – I still don’t quite get it. It’s still vague, and he offered a very basic explanation – there’s so much more lying underneath.

As I mentioned, Louisiana and Utah passed a similar bill. As The Verge reports, they might also come to Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Ohio.

[via ArsTechnica]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “Minors in Texas now need parental consent to access social media”

  1. Libby Sutherland Avatar
    Libby Sutherland

    Oh yeah, this will work 🤨 Parents need to get smarter about devices in general as the kids will always find a way to beat the online permissions game.

    Was in the mall a couple of years back and was near the AT&T store. There was a girl about 14 or so pitching a holy fit because dad would not buy her the latest iPhone. The manager asked them to leave the store. They did. And then right outside the store she was literally on the floor kicking and screaming about the iPhone. Bloodcurdling screams so loud that security was called. Dad just stood by (what an ass).

    Parents, you have lost control. Wake up. No 14 yr old needs a thousand dollar smartphone. Back to flip phones for those “emergency calls” that the kids will use as the argument. No smartphone, no apps. Pretty simple really.