Do we need to protect teens from themselves, especially on social media? California looks as though it thinks the answer is yes, and it might not be a bad idea.
Two new laws moving through the system in California, SB 568 and SB 501, could give parents and teens more tools to undo errors made by minors, and generally make the internet a more forgiving place. The errors that the legislation aims to address include not only posting inadvisable comments or pictures, but also cases of minors posting personal information which makes them vulnerable to predators and otherwise land them in unsafe situations.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) already gives parents and minors aged 12 and under broad protection, but these laws are attempting to address the risks posed to the 13 -17 year old crowd.
According to an article posted by eMedia Law Insider:
The existing federal COPPA regulations provide for a similar removal process of content for children under 13 by the parents, but this law would force websites to add the process for those up to 17 and allow the request to come from the minor.
California SB 501, meanwhile, would require websites to remove personally identifiable information about minors upon the request of the minor OR the parent within 96 hours of the request.
In the case of minors, giving parents the power to have content taken down is probably overdue. That’s what parents are for, among other things.
Even if both laws pass in California, and spark a national conversation or movement in this direction, there is one caveat: there is no protection from or remedy in the case of someone else reposting or otherwise sharing a minor’s content, on a social media site or elsewhere on the internet. Like most of the internet, it may be that the content will live forever in some form.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.