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Websites Face New Rules With New Bill [AUDIO]

NEW JERSEY 101.5

The internet can be a dangerous place for today’s youth, and it’s the focus of a brand new, two-pronged bill from a New Jersey lawmaker.

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Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

The measure introduced by state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) would give minors a second chance if they post something online that they regret. Website operators would be required to let individuals under 18 remove the content.

“Young people often exercise poor judgment because they’re not mature enough to realize the pitfalls of some of the things that they say and do,” said Turner, noting embarrassing posts could prevent someone from being admitted to college or from being hired as an employee.

Turner’s measure also prohibits websites from marketing certain products and services to minors. The list of 14 includes electronic smoking devices, spray paint and firearms.

“Sometimes, young people are so impressionable,” added Turner. “If somebody is trying to market something or sell them on something, they may succumb and cause themselves harm.”

The bill has already garnered a fair share of criticism from those who say it may be unenforceable and unconstitutional. Plus, many sites already let users remove their own posts.

Turner said, ideally, the rules would be made at a federal level, but for now, states must act on their own. A similar law was proposed on the national level in 2011 and did not advance, but the sponsors plan to reintroduce it this year.

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