Louisiana Cracks Down On Teens' Unrestricted Internet Access

Permission Required: Louisiana Cracks Down On Teens’ Unrestricted Internet Access


Louisiana Bill Teens Internet Access

Louisiana lawmakers recently passed a bill to bar minors from signing up to use online services like social media apps and video games without parental permission.

With the bill now heading to the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for signature, the proposal could soon be a reality for children and teens in the Pelican State.

RELATED: New Louisiana Law Requires ID Verification To Access Adult Websites

At this time, Gov. Edwards hasn’t commented on his position about the bill on his public platforms.


State Rep. Laurie Schlegel Spearheaded The Measure

According to the Louisiana State Legislature, State Rep. Laurie Schlegel (R) introduced House Bill 61 earlier this year.

The proposal would limit minors’ unfettered access to “any website, application, or similar electronic means” that involves the “creation and sharing of information, ideas, personal messages, and other content, including texts, photos, and videos.”

If approved, the measure would take effect on August 1, 2024. We should add that it passed by unanimous vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives earlier this week, signaling that there isn’t much opposition by in-state politicians.

While discussing the proposal, Schlegel notes that it’s all about protecting children from “irresponsible online companies,” according to The New York Times.


Critics Say House Bill 61 "Will Decimate Anonymous Browsing" & "Jeopardize Privacy"

Not everyone is gung-ho about the new bill, though. NetChoice—a tech group affiliated with companies like TikTok, Meta, and Google—says the move will ultimately “decimate” internet anonymity as we know it, per CNBC.

“It will decimate anonymous browsing and gaming—requiring citizens to hand over data to prove their identity and age just to use an online service. Anonymity can be important for individuals using social media services for things like whistleblowers, victims, and those identifying crime in the neighborhood who fear backlash.”

The New York Times reports that Servando Esparza, an executive with another tech company called TechNet, expressed similar concerns.

“The bill will require all users to provide proof of their age in order to comply with the law and ask parents to provide proof that they are the minor’s parent in order to access the platform.”

Esparza added, “This could jeopardize privacy and lead to unintended consequences.”


Louisiana Isn't Alone In Its Efforts

While on the subject, we should point out that Louisiana isn’t the only state rolling out similar measures.

Earlier this year, Utah ushered in a new law that would bar teens from using social media between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. It’s set to go into effect next year.

Arkansas passed a law requiring parental permission to access social media sites shortly after.


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