The Bulletin

Youngkin recommends tighter parental approvals for children accessing websites

By: - April 5, 2023 12:02 am

(Getty Images)

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is recommending changes to a pending state law that would require a parent to approve whether or not their child can set up accounts on social media and other websites that process or sell data. 

The extra layer of permission would be on top of the requirements of the original bill, which would order pornography websites to more stringently verify whether a person is 18 before granting them access. 

“Under the governor’s amendments, the current protections for online privacy for children under the age of 13 would be extended to all children,” said Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter in an email. “In addition, his amendments require parental approval for children who set up accounts on social media or other sites that process or sell data.” 

Bill to require additional proof of age for porn sites in Virginia heads to Youngkin’s desk

Porter said parental approval would be needed for websites regulated under the new Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), which went into effect this year and gives consumers the right to access personal data that has been collected by businesses and request that it be deleted. 

Regulated businesses include those that process the personal data of at least 100,000 consumers in a calendar year or process the personal data of at least 25,000 consumers while deriving over 50% of their gross revenue from the sale of that data. 

Under Youngkin’s amendments, major websites and social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter would need verifiable parental consent for children to set up an account. 

Websites or entities would need to make “reasonable efforts” to obtain parental approval by either a signed consent form, government-issued identification or credit card or online payment system.

Sites would be required to provide the parent with the option to consent to the collection and use of their child’s personal data.

The recommendation would also extend online privacy protections allowed by the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act from those under the age of 13 to all children under the age of 18.

“The governor is committed to empowering parents and protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet, as well as ensuring that children’s data is not sold or used for targeted advertising or profiling purposes,” Porter said.

The Virginia Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the VCDPA. Businesses that violate these new restrictions have 30 days to come into compliance or face a $7,500 civil penalty per violation.

The General Assembly will convene in Richmond next week on April 12 to debate the governor’s amendments.


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Meghan McIntyre

Meghan McIntyre is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in print and online journalism, where she received a faculty award for her work. She has stories covering Virginia government and politics published in various outlets across the state through Capital News Service, a course in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU. She was also a previous news intern at VPM and briefly freelanced for The Farmville Herald and The Suffolk News-Herald.