Over the 12 months, lawmakers across several states have passed or considered legislation to place age restrictions on websites containing adult content and/or social media sites. These laws are all meant to help protect minors using the internet and prevent them from exposure to sexual or potentially harmful content. However, citizens across the country are concerned about the balance of online privacy against the need to keep kids safe.
These laws require anyone trying to view websites with certain percentages of “adult content” to be required to verify their age via a third party company in order to gain access to said website. Some states such as Arkansas and Utah have even taken this a step further and have implemented age verification measures just to access social media. Below is the current list of states who have either passed bills with age restrictions or are in the process of doing so.
States with Age Restriction Laws
|Arkansas||Act 612||Passed in House and Senate, delivered to Governor for signature|
|Florida||Statute 847.011||Passed – Effective 07/01/23|
|Kansas||SB 160||Introduced and referred to committee on 02/03/23|
|Louisiana||Act No. 440||Passed – Effective 01/01/23|
|Mississippi||SB 2346||Passed – Effective 07/01/23|
|Montana||HB 0234||Passed – Effective 05/10/23|
|South Dakota||–||Killed in Senate|
|Texas||HB 1181||Passed – Effective 09/01/23|
|Utah||SB 287||Passed, but pending due to a lawsuit brought against the bill by the Utah AG’s office.|
|Virginia||SB1515||Passed – Effective 05/12/23|
|West Virginia||HB 3339||Introduced and referred to committee on 02/08/23|
There is still much to be discussed in the states where legislation is pending, and even in states where the laws have been passed, certain groups are bringing lawsuits against the age verification laws. There are even debates in congress of implementing age verification measures at a federal level; S.1409 – Kids Online Safety Act. It is also worth noting that age verification measures can easily be circumvented by using a VPN (virtual private network). allows people to have a private, encrypted connection online. The use of VPNs would make the user appear as if they are accessing the website from a location other than the state in which underage access is prohibited.
While it is not our place to debate the ethics of the laws, we will be continually updating our IDLaws portal, as well as this blog with any updates or changes to the current or pending laws. Be sure to follow along for more information.