Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that, if signed, would restrict people under 18 from creating profiles with online services without a parent’s or guardian’s consent. The bill, HB61, now goes to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards for final approval. If he signs the bill, it would go into effect on Aug. 1, 2024.
The bill states that no “interactive computer service” can enter into an agreement with a minor without a guardian’s consent. However, interactive computer service is a broad term that could include any online service that requires a person to log in to an account, like an online video game profile or email account.
The bill would also let parents retroactively cancel any terms-of-service contracts that a minor already signed with online services. But this only reinforces the Louisiana civil code, which already allows a guardian to rescind a contract made by a minor.
However, some critics say the bill is too broad and could have unintended consequences. Servando Esparza, an executive director of tech industry group TechNet, posted on Twitter that HB61 could jeopardize people’s privacy.
The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.
“Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said in a news release. “We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis — one that we must urgently address.”