Is The Government Going too Far to Regulate Social Media for Minors? Most Definitely.

Bill HB24-1136
Is The Government Going too Far to Regulate Social Media for Minors? Most Definitely.

This year on January 29th, the Colorado Legislature introduced a bill to “encourage healthier social media use” to minors. 

This bill requires the Department of Education to maintain a resource bank of evidence and studies regarding the mental health effects of social media on youth under the age of 18. 

The bill also required the Department of Education to expand local wellness programs that focused on the harmful effects of technology on the mental and physical well being of minors. 

On the surface, this seems like an amazing bill that aims to help the youth of Colorado. However, their next and last point of the bill is where it becomes quite questionable when it comes to the privacy of minors.

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The last point states that social media platforms would be required to display a warning to a user who is under the age of 18.

This only applies when the user has spent one hour on social media platforms in a single day and is on a social media platform between 10 PM to 6 AM.

The only way the government of Colorado would be able to achieve this is by monitoring the personal devices or personal social media accounts of minors.

Although this bill is still only under consideration, the people who will be affected by this bill are in a state of uncertainty whether or not it will pass.

Also, even the mere fact that it was introduced in the first place has presented a question for both the youth and the government. To what extent can the government monitor the devices of minors to regulate social media?

Despite the bill still being up in the air, this isn’t even the first time that state governments and the federal government have tried to regulate social media.

35 states and some US territories such as Puerto Rico have considered regulating social media and 12 actually passed bills that regulates social media according to the National Conference of State Legislators

In Utah’s bill S.B.152, minors under a specific age cannot open or maintain a social media account without the permission of a parent or guardian and also would create a curfew.

And Montana banned the popular social media app, TikTok, all together throughout the entire state with the bill S.B.0419.

These and many more bills were introduced or passed in order to protect children on social media. However, a lawsuit filed against the state of Utah claims that the bill violates the first amendment and 14th amendment of minors.

Even though 2 lawsuits have been filed, they didn’t stop the Utah legislature from passing the bill. 

So, is the government going too far to regulate social media for minors? Definitely. 

 Although, in the eyes of the government and politicians, it is perfectly within the law according to their rulings in Utah. They claim that these bills are enacted to “protect” minors, but monitoring devices would intrude on a minor’s basic expectation of privacy.

If only parents and social media companies took responsibility for what children see online, then this wouldn’t even be an issue in the first place. It shouldn’t even be the job of the government to ban social media and monitor the devices of minors.

Every time a parent complains about an issue that could have very well been prevented by them, government officials race to meet their demands.

I’m not saying that we should get rid of all regulations that enact rules for social media platforms since there will be people willing to violate the laws, but only the ones that could possibly violate the basic privacy of minors.

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About the Contributor
Hayne Kang, Graphic Designer
Grade: I am in 11th grade. Years on Staff: This is my third year on staff. What are you looking forward to most: I'm looking forward to creating graphics for the Chronicle. What is your favorite personality trait: I'm quite helpful.

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