With inputs from Sarvesh Mathi “Parents should approve their teen’s app downloads, and we support federal legislation that requires app stores to get parents’ approval whenever their teens under 16 download apps,” Meta’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis wrote in a recent blog post, arguing that app stores should be required to carry out age verification of teenagers as opposed to individual apps, explaining that it can be impossible for parents to keep up with all the apps that teens use today. “Teens move interchangeably between many websites and apps, and social media laws that hold different platforms to different standards in different states will mean teens are inconsistently protected,” Davis argued, pointing out that the US is currently using a patchwork of different laws that require teens of varying ages to get parental approval before signing up for certain apps. She said that the inconsistencies in the law would require parents to go through different sign-up methods and would require them to provide potentially sensitive identification information to apps over and over again. Handing off age verification responsibilities to app stores: Davis’s solution to repeatedly approving apps is to route age verification through app stores. She suggests that with this solution in place, parents can verify the age of a teen when they first set up their phone, “negating the need for everyone to verify their age multiple times across multiple apps.” She further says parents will be notified by the app store when a teen tries to…
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