New bill could force companies to get Ga. parents’ consent for minors to be on social media

ATLANTA — A new push from Georgia lawmakers is designed to make sure parents know when their kids have access to social media by requiring companies to get parental consent for anyone younger than 16.

Channel 2′s Michael Doudna spoke with parents who wonder how it would be enforced.

Amanda Niederhuber says she wants the best for her sons, but in a world where dangers lurk online, some help keeping them safe would be nice.

“We have to have some moral guardrail put in place and do what we can,” she said.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Senate Bill 351, which is currently making its way through the state legislature, would require social media companies to get parental consent for users under the age of 16.

Experts are pointing out that children could just lie.

“If you cannot enforce it, it’s futile,” Titania Jordan, who runs parental control company Bark Technologies, said.

The bill tries to protect against that by requiring social media companies to prove parental consent by getting a signed form, a call or proof of ID. If they don’t, the companies would be hit with a $2,500 fine per violation.

“It’s a game of whack-a-mole. There are so many ways now that children can sign up for anything,” Jordan described.


Jordan says she supports the legislation, but worries that without national enforcement, kids will find a way around it.

“I feel like we are 50 steps behind trying to legislate anything that would be effective,” Niederhuber said.

Both of them say that this bill represents a step towards protecting children and any step is better than nothing.

“It’s a small step in the right direction. Instead of blindly ignoring it, we have to do something,” Niederhuber said.

Another major part of the bill is a requirement for schools to ban social media usage on school grounds and school devices by next school year.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]