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Utah Law Could Curb Use of TikTok, Instagram by Children, Teens

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In January, Lucy Loewen, 13, testified in a hearing in Salt Lake City about social media use among youths.

While the measure may come as welcome news for many parents, civil liberties experts and tech industry groups said it raised significant privacy and free speech concerns.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News

Utah's Governor Spencer J. Cox signed a social media bill that could restrict access to applications like TikTok and Instagram by children and adolescents.

Social media services must bar state residents younger than 18 from having accounts without a parent or guardian's consent under the law.

Social networks also must provide Utah parents access to their children's posts, messages, and responses, as well as block minors from accessing accounts from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. unless their parent or guardian modifies that setting.

Sen. Michael K. McKell (R-UT) said the law aims to protect minors from bullying and sexual exploitation while also addressing a "mental health crisis" among teenagers.

Civil liberties experts and technology industry organizations said the statute could block young people from major online platforms, and breach parents' rights to decide their children's online use.

From The New York Times
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