Iowa consider Utah-like restrictions on teen’s social media use

Lawmakers in Iowa have stated they plan to follow Utah’s new social media law, stating youth under 18 will now require parental consent to be allowed on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The law was signed by Utah Governor Spencer Cox on March 23, the same day the CEO of TikTok testified in front of Congress. The law states that teens under 18 will not be allowed to use social media without parental consent or during the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. 

“Those things can be validating because what my sibling has gone through is traumatic, and it’s good that they have something to validate them, but it also drives them even deeper into that ‘I am a victim and things will never get better. My life is miserable,’” senior Midnight Thornton said, “and with their under-developed brain, that’s not good, and so there’s me, who’s trying to teach them. There are these emotions, and that’s good that you acknowledge those emotions, but here’s how you deal with them, but because they spend so much time on those things, there’s more ‘this is what’s going on,’ instead of, ‘this is how we fix it.’”

The major concerns of legislators are, at least publicly implied, the effects of teens’ mental health in which numerous studies have concluded a connection between the declining mental health of teens and the use of social media. Additionally, governors have been raising suspicions that tech companies like TikTok and Youtube focus on bright and colorful advertisements to lure in children toward their platforms. 

“Also with kids that I’ve been nannies for, they’re using terms that they don’t seem to understand,” Thornton said. “I watched over a six-year-old, and some of the stuff they said was like they clearly didn’t understand what they were saying, but they got this from somewhere, and again it’s because they were raised in a home where going on your phone and going on your TikTok or Youtube or whatever is when they were exposed to these things that they don’t have the mental capacity to understand.”

Iowa, along with other states, such as Texas, California, and Ohio, have all paid attention to Utah’s plan, as well as beginning their own talks of a social media restriction. Some Iowa legislators even suggested a full outright ban of social media for those under 18, while others have stated to allow kids under 18 to use social media under the approval of parents. 

“TikTok and social media can do wonderful things, and we have seen it do wonderful things,” Thornton said, “but there are also a lot of things that, you know what if you are not emotionally intelligent enough, and not because you’re stupid or because you’re dumb, but because you are too young to have the mental capacity to handle it. And so we do have to moderate those things.”

Currently, no bill has been passed by Iowa due to conflicting ideas regarding the bill, in addition to ways to provide consequences for violations of these terms.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.