House votes to require parental permission for teens online accounts

DES MOINES — The Iowa House has voted to require teenagers to have a parent’s permission to use social media accounts. If the bill becomes law, social media companies must give a parent access to their minor child’s Instagram, SnapChat or other accounts and the ability to shut down those accounts. Federal law currently prohibits anyone under the age of 13 from having their own social media account.

Representative Charley Thomson, a Republican from Charles City, led House debate of the bill.  “I believe this is an important step forward for parental rights in Iowa,” Thomson said. “It still permits parents to have some supervision over their children, while the children can have the social media accounts with monitoring.”

Thomson says some teens have been harassed on social media and subjected to what’s called “sexploitation” on social media — without their parent’s knowledge and with devastating consequences. “It’s a very sad situation…almost a homicide, because some of these bad actors have to encouraged he suicide victims to commit suicide,” Thomson says.

The bill passed the House on an 88-to-six vote and goes to the Senate for review.