Utah Leads the Way With New Social Media Legislation

March 23, 2023

Today, Gov. Cox signed S.B. 152 Social Media Regulation Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Mike McKell. The bill places restrictions on social media companies and provides parents with additional tools to protect teens from the harmful effects of social media.

In February, the CDC released data showing that nearly three in five (57%) of U.S. teen girls persistently felt sad or hopeless in 2021, doubling that of boys. Additionally, the data showed that nearly one in three girls seriously contemplated suicide. Since 2010, rates of depression and mental health crises in American teens have nearly doubled, where before, rates remained stagnant. Social media creation and use have been linked to these increased rates.

“In Utah, we care deeply about our teen’s mental health,” said Sen. McKell. “Since 2009, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation has drastically increased among minors in Utah and across the United States. After reviewing the data and talking with teens and parents, I decided to run S.B. 152 Social Media Regulation Amendments. Utah is leading the way to fight back against the harms of social media and providing parents with more resources and controls. As a lawmaker and parent, I believe we are helping prevent our children from succumbing to social media’s negative and sometimes life-threatening effects.”

S.B. 152 enacts a strict age verification process and allows parents or legal guardians to set time restrictions on social media use. The bill also blocks direct messages to minors without being “friends” on the platform and prevents social media companies from collecting and selling data on minors.

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