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State efforts to protect children online are changing the landscape of the internet. 

May 04 2023

State efforts to protect children online are changing the landscape of the internet. Louisiana lawmakers passed a legislation requiring online publishers to verify users’ age for explicit content for sites like Pornhub, making users in many other states soon need credentials such as digitized driver’s licenses to access various services. Plus, over two dozen other states have introduced bills to protect children from harmful content which comes as “a relief to parents who worry that their children are being bombarded by sexualized images or targeted by strangers online.” However, civil liberties groups argue that bills restricting information could violate free speech principles and make it difficult for minors to view information they “have a constitutional right” to see. The new state rules could also lead many platforms to adopt more stringent age verification systems. YPulse research shows since the pandemic especially, screentime for Gen Alpha has skyrocketed; 70% of Millennial parents agree: “I let my kid(s) have a lot more screentime during quarantine, and still do.” Now, the vast majority of their kids are watching video content on a weekly to daily basis. (NYT)