Atlanta

GA lawmakers working on bill that would make children seek permission to use social media sites

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers are looking at a bill that could limit your child’s access to social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat without your permission.

Jalin Nelson doesn’t play around when it comes to her children and social media sites.

She said her 14-year son is on Instagram to post photos of him playing football, but she keeps a close eye on it.

“That’s the law in my house anyway. So I’m not against it,” Nelson said. “He gets permission, and he gets monitored. He plays sports and his page is mainly for his exposure like for his craft.”

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones joined Republican state Sen. Jason Anavitarte to introduce a proposed bill that would require all social media sites to get explicit permission from parents before allowing anyone under 18 to sign up.

“In the wrong hands, (social media) can be a very dangerous tool, and it can be one that can cause a lot of harm,” Jones said.

The bill is modeled after a Louisiana law.

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Similar laws in other states such as Utah have come under fire by freedom of speech advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which claim that age verification infringes on First Amendment rights.

“They would also violate the same core First Amendment rights of people of all ages by requiring identification to access important global platforms,” the group said.

Anavitarte disagrees.

“We’re not going to be violating screen time. We’re not going to be violating those types of things. I think that is up to the parents,” he told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot.

Even though that’s already the law in Nelson’s house, she supports it.

“I think children actually need to get permission for a whole lot of stuff because they just don’t know what’s best for them,” Nelson said.

This bill is still under construction. Lawmakers plan to work with social media companies to come up with a viable version.

It is expected to be introduced during the next session of the General Assembly.

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