POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Should there be social media restrictions for children under 16?

Jan 17, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 4:18 pm

The Utah Legislature is considering a bill that require children be 16 years of age before getting ...

The Utah Legislature is considering a bill that require children be 16 years of age before getting a social media account. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — For parents, regulating social media in their home with their children can be difficult. 

But Utah lawmakers hope to make that easier for parents. During the 2023 Utah Legislative Session, legislators are talking about a bill that would make it illegal for social media companies to offer accounts to children under the age of 16.

Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan visited with Dave and Dujanovic about the need to have stronger regulations regarding children and social media. 

“I think in Utah we’re asking ourselves that same question,” Teuscher said. “Thirteen the right age? Maybe it’s 14, 15, 16. I think in my last bill, at least initially, we’re moving forward with that 16-year-old age.”

Teuscher says children wouldn’t be able to create a social media account before the age of 16.

“That would give parents from age 16 to 18 to use these other tools that were enabling,” he said. “Like parental opt-in and parental controls to help their kid wade through this area before they have unfettered access at age 18.”

Boyd Matheson, host of Inside Sources, joined the conversation.

Dave asks Matheson what he thinks about not being able to create a social media account until your 16?

“I think he had an important point there,” Matheson said. “And that is that the science tells us and we often talk about, follow the science and question the science. And this is one of those areas where we should question and follow the science because it is showing us without any doubt whatsoever the impact it’s having on young boys, young girls, teens in general.”

Matheson says this is conversation society has needed to have for quite some time now.

“There’s been zero accountability or responsibility from any of the social media companies and platforms,” he said. 

Noriega asks if the technology is available to prevent kids from creating burner accounts?

“Currently, to get around is way too easy,” he said. “Anybody can do that, and you can put any, you know burner email account on there to sign up with, and you know all of those kinds of things. So there has to be some sort of process. And I think that’s where the test of the legislation will be in verification.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon 

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Should there be social media restrictions for children under 16?