Texas’ New Social Media Law Requires Parental Consent for Kids’ Online Accounts

Texas’ New Social Media Law Requires Parental Consent for Kids’ Online Accounts

A new social media policy for kids was recently passed in Texas. House Bill 18 aims to protect minors from harmful online content. With the passing of this law, parents will now have more control over their child’s online privacy when it comes to social media platforms, mobile apps, and websites.

Minors will also need parental consent if they want to create new online accounts. Online service providers, including social media platforms are now required to make sure that age verification is done thoroughly for all users, identify minors, and ask for parental consent before granting access to their accounts.

Failure to do so will result in legal action from the state’s attorney general or from parents who will pursue lawsuits against online service providers that fail to do so.  

(Photo : natureaddict/ Pixabay )

Texas Social Media for Kids Policy Recently Signed Into Law

HB 18, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, is now giving social media platforms until September next year to set up their age verification technology and to adhere to the new law’s provisions, which center on social media usage for those under 18.

Texas’ new law is requiring social media companies to tell parents what data is being collected on their kids and how it is being used to advertise to them.

HB 18 also requires them to protect children and teen users from harmful online content, which includes those that promote self-harm, bullying, and even eating disorders.

The Texas House Republican Caucus tweeted after the law was signed: “Online platforms have been collecting data and manipulating our children’s online behavior.” 

On the other hand, Representative Shelly Slawson, sponsor of the bill, said: “Texas is leading to empower parents to protect our kids online.”

Read Also: Social Media is Bad for the Mental Health of Teenagers During Puberty and Those About to Leave Home, Study Says

Social Media for Kids: Is It Safe?

In 2021, there has been a massive debate regarding how social media affects children, particularly teenagers who are adept in the nooks and crannies of the internet. 

Meta, then known as Facebook, was accused of hiding information on how its Instagram platform affects the mental health of teenagers. Facebook then revealed it to the public, and since then, it has become a subject of national concern as to how Instagram has the most negative overall effect on young users’ mental health. 

The infamous whistleblower who also leaked important company information, Frances Haugen, also previously claimed the cover-ups done by the social media platform regarding the harmful effects. Haugen was a former Facebook product manager. 

With many states already passing similar laws like in Texas, social media regulation is now expected to be something that other states would also consider.

Children’s protection online is a massive topic now, and one of the ways to do it is to ask for parental consent before allowing access. Texas is now being firm about it with its new law passed.

Related Article: Parents Blame Social Media for Children’s Mental Health Problems, According to Survey

Isaiah Richard

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