US Bill To Require Parental Consent For Kids Use Of Social Media

Image credit: US Senate

New bipartisan bill unveiled in US will require parental consent for anyone under the age of 18 to use social media

Lawmakers in the United States have introduced a bipartisan bill to give parents greater control of the use of social media by their children.

CNBC reported that the bipartisan bill called Protecting Kids on Social Media Act was unveiled Wednesday, and itwould require parental consent for minors under the age of 18 to use social media.

It comes amid continued concerns about the impact of social media on children, with a recent study highlighting the negative impact especially on young girls.

Social media ban

Earlier this month the UK’s data protection office fined TikTok £12.7 million for failing to protect the privacy of children aged under 13, amidst wider scrutiny of the platform’s data controls.

Now in the US, the new bipartisan Protecting Kids on Social Media Act would require parental consent for anyone under 18 to use social media. It would also ban social media platforms from using algorithms to feed content to minors.

It would set the minimum age to use the platforms to 13 – like it is in the United Kingdom. It would also create a pilot program for a new age verification credential that could be used to enroll on social media platforms.

The new proposal, backed by Senators Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Katie Britt, R-Ala., would give parents across the country profound new control over their kids’ access to social networking services, CNBC reported.

In addition to parental consent to use social media, the bill requires such companies to “take reasonable steps beyond merely requiring attestation” to verify users’ ages.

CNBC reported that is likely to raise privacy concerns given that it can be difficult to narrow a user’s age without some sort of government ID or facial scan.

The bill says that “existing age verification technologies” should be taken into account and that information collected for age verification purposes shouldn’t be used for anything else.

TikTok bans

The legislation comes after a number of US states including Utah signed sweeping social media legislation requiring explicit parental permissions for anyone under 18 to use platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.

Some US states, such as Montana, have passed laws banning the use of TikTok altogether, from operating in the state.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew last month faced hostile questioning when he appeared before a US congressional hearing.

The White House recently added its backing to the bill from a bipartisan group of a dozen US senators that seeks to impose a nationwide ban in the US on TikTok.