Louisiana lawmakers have sent a bill to the state’s governor that would require online platforms to obtain a parent’s consent before creating an account for users under 18, the latest in a raft of legislation restricting digital services for kids and teens.
The legislation, known as HB61, covers a broad range of companies and content, including video games, social networks, and other services that allow users to create accounts and exchange text, photos or videos online.
Under the bill, online platforms could use third-party services to obtain a parent’s consent.
US lawmakers have spent years calling for new safeguards to address concerns about social platforms leading younger users down harmful rabbit holes, enabling new forms of bullying and harassment and adding to what’s been described as a teen mental health crisis.
But some users, digital rights advocates and child safety experts have said the wave of new state legislation risks undermining privacy for teens and adults, puts too much burden on parents and raises questions about enforcement.
Louisiana was also one of the first states to pass age-verification requirements for adult websites, a move that has also been replicated in other states and which has prompted websites such as Pornhub to launch an opposition campaign.
If HB61 is signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the legislation would take effect in August 2024.