New Lawsuits signed

Annita Yang, Reporter

 The increase in suicide rates, depression, anxiety, and other issues within young teens seem to be correlated to social media. Or at least a majority of people think.

   On March 23, 2023, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed two social media regulation bills. The signing took place in the Capitol building, in Salt Lake City. The bills passed will restrict children under the age of 18, access to social media between certain hours. 

   An article written by The Associated Press said, “Utah’s new social media law means children will need approval from parents.” The curfew will restrict minors between “10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.” Along with requiring age verification for any individual who wishes to use social media, parents will be required to give permission for their underaged children in the state of Utah. 

   But do these laws affect students at D.C. Everest Senior High School? As the government begins to process laws regulating usage of social media, and counteracting the threat of data sharing, it will eventually begin to impact people. 

   The laws being signed in the state have caused a ripple effect on others. 

   NPR’s article wrote some states that were following similar proposals as the following: Arkansas, Texas, Ohio, Louisiana, and New Jersey. 

   Wisconsin state laws on children’s ability to use social media have also grown wary. Representative David Steffan proposed social media regulations in order to keep children safe. 

   The concerns Rep. Steffan cited were the following: studies from Mayo Clinic linking social media to “overnight use, with increased depression and anxiety in teens.”  

   A study from the University of Toledo, in Ohio, revealed the rise of using social media “to ‘contact, recruit, and sell children for sex.’” 

   Lastly, the Pew Research Rep. Steffan shows half of teens experience cyberbullying. Along with “75 percent of teens don’t feel social media companies or elected officials are doing enough to address the problem.”

   Though many students use social media on a daily basis, a lot of concern is raised about privacy, and young childrens’ exploitation of the internet. 

   “It’s okay for certain ages to use social media. But having access to the internet has changed people, especially younger children,” junior Ailah Ferge said. 

   There is no clear answer or research about what parts of social media truly ties into impacting young children. 

   Ferge said, “Maybe the companies of the social media apps should be more restrictive on age limits, because there shouldn’t be a twelve year old doing a ‘sexy dance’ on TikTok.”

   If the regulations are similar to Utah’s age restriction, some seniors would already be the age of 18. Senior Samari Kolden said, “Well, I’m already the age of eighteen, so it wouldn’t really have an effect on me if Wisconsin passes the same age regulation.”

   Kolden said, “Kids will get into more trouble, because the phone is like a babysitter for them. I feel like they’ll do something bad because of the effects on using social media. For example, those ‘stay overnight in stores’ challenges kind of encourage bad behaviors to young audiences.”

   Sophomore Katana Vang said, “Younger kids like middle schoolers should be restricted because of some of the content on the internet. It kind of feels like the governments are constricting the kids’ freedom on social media, and the use of it. Some apps should have better restrictions too because I feel that they have some responsibility to protect younger children on their platform, and are responsible for pushing mature content onto younger audiences.”

   Exposure to certain content on the internet, whether explicit, or ability to connect to potential child predators online, has always been a cyber security concern. 

   Though there has not been further news about passing the restrictions on minors’ access to social media in Wisconsin, it is best to be aware of new laws being passed throughout the country.