The Chicago Journal

Utah approves a bill for social media control for kids

Utah The world has been moving toward a new era of technology and social media for more than a decade.

Many users started using the platforms as teenagers and grew up with them, and their children now want to join in on the fun.

Yet, there has been a heated controversy about whether they should even be permitted on the platforms in the first place.

Utah’s governor signed a contentious bill to safeguard children online on Thursday.

The news

Utah’s governor approved legislation requiring minors to obtain parental consent before opening social media accounts on a variety of sites.

The bill is widely regarded as the most extreme action taken by state or federal politicians to protect children online.

The Utah Social Media Regulation Act includes the following regulations:

  • Social media platforms must conduct age verification for Utah residents
  • Band ads for minors
  • Impose an online curfew
  • Restrict sites between 10:30 pm to 6:30 am for those under 18
  • Parents must be able to access their teens’ accounts

The legislation

Republican Senator Michael McKell presented the legislation, which was later signed into law by Republican Governor Spencer Cox.

It will become effective on March 1, 2024.

McKell talked on how the rise of social media has increased anxiety, sadness, and suicide thoughts among Utah and nationwide children.

“When it comes down to it, [the bill] is about protecting our children,” he said.

“As a lawmaker and parent, I believe this bill is the best path forward to prevent our children from succumbing to the negative and sometimes life-threatening effects of social media.”

The legislation is also the result of years of campaigning by American politicians for protections to protect children and teens online.

Fears about young users falling into harmful rabbit holes have persisted, leading to a new type of abuse and harassment.

Additionally, social media is said to have aggravated what is regarded as a teen mental health crisis in the United States.

As a result, no federal law has been enacted.

The states and proposals

Utah is the first state to pass laws emphasizing children’s internet safety.

They are not, however, the only ones who have designed such a plan.

Legislators in Connecticut and Ohio, for example, are attempting to introduce laws requiring social networking firms to obtain parental consent before allowing users under the age of 16 to join.

“We can assume more methods like the Utah bill could find their way into other states’ plans, especially if actions are not taken at the federal level,” said ABI Research analyst Michael Inouye.

“Eventually, if enough states implement similar or related legislation, we could see a more concerted effort at the federal level to codify these (likely) disparate state laws under a US-wide policy.”

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Experts and Big Tech companies have long lobbied the US government to enact legislation to protect younger social media users.

Even before the bill was passed, many people voiced worries about its implications.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Utah’s limitations are harmful to user privacy.

According to the organization, the law would also make user data less safe, internet access less private, and infringe on young users’ basic rights.

“Social media provides a lifeline for many young people, in addition to community, education, and conversation,” said EFF director of activism Jason Kelley.

“They use it in part because it can be private.”

“The law, which would limit social media access and require parental consent and monitoring for minors, will incalculably harm the ability of young people to protect their privacy and deter them from exercising their rights.”

Lucy Ivey, a TikTok influencer and Utah Valley University student, agreed with the thoughts of the group.

She argued that the change will provide difficulties for her LGBT colleagues.

“My worry with this bill is that it will take away privacy from teenagers, and a lot of kids don’t have good relationships with their parents or don’t have a reliable guardian that would be needed to get access to social media,” said Ivey.

“I think about my LGBTQ friends; some who have a hard time with their parents because of their sexuality or identity, and they could be losing an important place where they can be themselves, and be seen and heard.”

Ivey created Our Era when she was 15 years old, later expanding her production on TikTok, where she voiced worry about the bill’s ramifications for content creators like herself.

“With a new law like this, they may now be intimidated and discouraged by the legal hoops required to use social media out of fear of authority or their parents, or fear of losing their privacy at a time when teens are figuring out who they are.”

Meta, Facebook’s parent corporation, stated that it shares the same aims as parents and politicians.

Yet, by providing easily accessible platforms, the company encourages young people to have a fun and safe online experience.

Antigone Davis, Meta’s worldwide head of safety, stated that the firm will continue to collaborate with experts, governments, and parents to address the challenges.

Even though the Utah legislative procedures are problematic, Inouye believes that the early efforts to fix the issues are limited.

How To Be Strong for Your Kids After a Divorce

Dealing with a divorce is hard enough, but when you have children, it can be even more difficult. You not only have to deal with your own pain and heartache, but you also have to be strong for your kids. They are probably going through a lot of emotions themselves, and they need you to be there for them. Here are some tips on how to be strong for your kids after a divorce:

Acknowledge their feelings

Your children might feel scared, confused, or even angry after a divorce. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know it is okay to feel that way. Let them express themselves and talk about their feelings. It might even be helpful to get them some counseling so they can talk to someone else about what they are going through.

Spend quality time with them

Make sure you spend some quality time with your kids every day. This can be tough if you are working full-time as well, but it is essential to carve out some time for just them. You can play games together, read together, or take them out for ice cream. Just let them know that you love them and are there for them.

Don’t badmouth the other parent

Do not badmouth the other parent in front of your kids. Even if you are angry with them, try to stay positive when you are around your kids. They need to have a good relationship with both parents, and if you say negative things about the other parent, it will only make things harder for them.

Be consistent with discipline

Divorce can be chaotic for kids, so you need to try and keep some sense of normalcy in their lives. One way to do this is by being consistent with discipline. If there are rules in the house, ensure everyone follows them. This will help your kids feel safe and secure during this time of change.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself

As aforementioned, dealing with divorce can be tough, and while you might be trying to be strong for your kids, remember to take care of yourself too. Make sure you are taking time for yourself and doing things that make you happy. Whether it’s reading, doing jigsaw puzzles or playing games at Sloto, find what relaxes you and takes your mind off the stress of divorce.  You cannot be strong for your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself first.

Seek out support

We all need a shoulder to lean on from time to time, and this is especially true after a divorce. Seek support from friends and family members who can help you through this tough time. You can also join a support group for people who are going through a divorce. This can be a great way to meet other people who understand what you are going through and can offer advice too. Talking about your feelings can help you deal with them better.

Sometimes, you do not even have to speak; having a loved one close to you makes all the difference.

Don’t rush into a new relationship

It might be tempting to jump into a new relationship after a divorce, but it is best to take things slow. You need time to heal emotionally before you start a new relationship. Plus, it is not fair to the person you are dating if you are not ready for a serious relationship.

Therefore, to be the best version of yourself, focusing on taking care of yourself first is important. Only then can you be ready to bring someone else into your life and love them wholeheartedly.

Give yourself time to grieve

Divorce is often a loss, and it takes time to grieve the loss of your marriage. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve the end of your marriage. Do not try to bottle up your feelings; they will only come out later in a more destructive way.

Avoid negative talk

After a divorce, it is easy to get caught up in negative talk. You might find yourself complaining about your ex or talking about all the ways your life is better now that you are divorced. But this kind of talk only brings you down and makes you feel worse. Instead, try to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

Be easy on yourself and your kids

Lastly, remember to be easy on yourself and your kids during this time. Divorce is hard for everyone involved, so be kind to yourself and your children. Things will get better with time, so try to focus on the positive aspects of your life and the love you have for your children.

Wrapping up

It is normal to feel overwhelmed after a divorce, but remember, your children depend on you. They need you to be strong for them during this difficult time. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup, so ensure you take care of yourself first.

Seek out support from friends and family members, and do not hesitate to join a support group. Avoid negative talk, and give yourself time to grieve the loss of your marriage. Be easy on yourself and your kids, and things will eventually get better.