Stop silencing young people. No more social media bans.

Regressive states across the country are taking away teenagers’ online rights. It started in Utah, with two laws that create a Footloose-style curfew for social media and give parents complete control over their kids’ accounts, messages, and passwords. Now these laws are spreading across the country, and they risk turning the internet into a despotic surveillance state.

It’s true that Big Tech’s advertising model hurts kids and teens. But age-gating all social media, for anyone under 18? That won’t solve the problem, and it’s a direct attack on millions of young people’s First Amendment rights.

We’re in a precious place. Social media Footloose bills are advancing in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, and they could spread further, fast. Sign the petition to tell your elected officials “Teenagers have a First Amendment right to use social media. I want my elected officials to oppose social media bans for children. This legislation is a violation of free speech and gives exploitative tech companies even more access to our data. These bills need to be stopped.”

Thanks for signing the petition!

Please consider sharing this page with your friends and family.

This is not about mental health. It’s about censorship.

Utah’s lawmakers touted mental health concerns associated with social media use as the reason for severely limiting teenagers’ use of social media. But we know this is a front. It’s simply the latest attempt to control how young people use the Internet. Utah’s become the town in Footloose: a bunch of out of touch politicians trying to dictate how young people behave.

Social media has enabled scores of young people to organize their communities, learn about current events, engage with fandom, learn about entertainment and music, and so much more. Curfew-and-control bills like Utah’s could devastate relationships, uproot communities, and cause millions of young people to be deprived of creative opportunities. 

Under-18 internet bans also create frightening new dangers for marginalized children. When their parents can monitor and control their internet usage, children experiencing abuse or harm in their living situations can be cut off from accessing resources or reaching out for help. In states where LGBTQ+ resources and books in schools are under attack, the internet might be the only avenue for badly needed and affirming information. If lawmakers truly cared about the “mental health” of teenagers, this would be a concern for them.

Requiring ID for the internet is bad for everyone.

Big Tech already collects your personal information, like your mental health status, and sells it to data brokers. To make these draconian Footloose laws work, politicians are asking unscrupulous companies like TikTok and Meta to collect even more of your data—your government-issued ID.  Under laws like Utah’s, both young people and adults would have to prove their age with a driver’s license or other document. Lawmakers shouldn’t be giving exploitative tech companies even more intrusive access to our data. 

All of this also assumes that all people have easy access to government ID. Millions of people in the US don’t have documentation like birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, or government IDs because of houselessness, migration, or lack of economic access. Curfew-and-control bills  would mean further digital marginalization for people who already have limited access to so many resources. Lawmakers should have no part in fencing off the internet. We have a right to use social media without economic barriers to entry.

Teens have a right to use the internet. Help us stop these bills!

Utah lawmakers claim their curfew-and-control bills help children, but these bills actually make children less safe. In addition, we know denying LGBTQ+ and marginalized children access to affirming online communities can have extremely harmful effects. To make matters worse, legislation like this is spreading. Arkansas has passed a copycat bill.  Louisiana and Texas are trying to follow Utah’s lead, and it’s been introduced in Congress. 

Teenagers have been at the forefront of the movement to hold Big Tech companies accountable and demand better privacy and safety standards, but gatekeeping social media from teenagers will bar hundreds of thousands of young people from expressing themselves freely. Instead of infringing upon their First Amendment rights, lawmakers need to focus on passing comprehensive privacy legislation to protect children from the exploitative practices of big tech companies. Sign the petition and tell lawmakers to STOP these ridiculous attacks on young people’s freedom and rights!