RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Glenn Youngkin recently proposed amendments to a bill that strives to strengthen internet protections for minors.

SB 1515 — which already passed in the General Assembly — would make it more difficult for children to access adult material online by implementing stronger age verification measures.

With ever-evolving iPhones and platforms like TikTok, the digital world can feel inescapable; even for parents, like Rich Meagher.

“It’s hard,” Meagher said. “It’s just really hard.”

Meagher is also a political scientist who broke down the proposal for us, but he shared his perspective as a father of two teenagers, “I think about my kids’ use of media, about my kids’ use of technology all the time. It’s a big part of how we live now.”

Meagher tries to limit his teens’ device time, but noted that it’s impossible to monitor a kid’s internet usage 24/7.

“Getting a little bit of help, getting somebody to put up a little bit of a barrier that might get a child or a minor to consider, ‘what I’m doing is wrong, maybe I shouldn’t be doing it.’ I think is welcomed,” Meagher said.

Now that Youngkin has revised the proposal, 8News is breaking down some of his recommended changes.

First, Governor Youngkin’s amendment expands online protections to all children, rather than just those under the age of thirteen.

However, a big part of what’s new in the bill has to do with data collection. The governor added a provision that prohibits websites from selling children’s internet data to third parties or using it for targeted advertising.

Meagher told 8News that he believes this piece of the amendment to be helpful, but minor, compared to the bigger picture of the bill’s foundation, its protective efforts.

“I really think the more important point really is about this incentive to prevent minors,” Meagher explained. “[Efforts] to make it harder for minors to access this material.”

Youngkin also roped in the recent social media boom that has developed in our digital landscape in recent years. He added a measure that requires parental approval for kids to set up social media accounts or visit other sites that store data. Internet companies that don’t show sufficient efforts to comply could face legal consequences.

“Probably won’t change anything overnight,” Meagher noted. “But it will create some incentives and possibly lead to some court cases down the road.”

A point worth noting is that the bill leaves the door open for parties to sue websites that fail to comply with the parental consent and age verification regulations. The General Assembly is set to review Governor Youngkin’s amendments next week.