California law gives teens 'eraser button' on the Web

California law gives teens 'eraser button' on the Web

Regrets, teens have a few — especially on the Web.

Kids in California haunted by embarrassing posts can soon hit "delete." Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law an “eraser button” that will give minors the ability to request that their online trail be scrubbed, according to the website of Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, who sponsored the bill.

“This is a groundbreaking protection for our kids who often act impetuously with postings of ill-advised pictures or messages before they think through the consequences," Steinberg said in a statement.

Starting in 2015, websites, mobile apps and online services geared toward minors must give them the option to delete information if they request it. Sites popular with kids include Reddit, Pinterest and Snapchat.

The law is “the first bill of its kind,” Common Sense Media spokesperson Amber Whiteside told Yahoo News. “There is not similar legislation in other states.”

Currently, the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act requires parental consent for online users under the age of 13 before websites can collect their information.

California Senate Bill 568 passed with bipartisan support, and with no opposition from the industry, according to the nonprofit Common Sense Media.

The bill also prevents children's personal data from being used to promote products that they are prohibited from purchasing, such as firearms, tobacco, alcohol, and tattoos.

“Children and teens often self-reveal before they self-reflect and may post sensitive personal information about themselves — and about others — without realizing the consequences," James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, wrote in a letter to Brown advocating the law.

But the bill also has its limits. For example, it does not require content posted by the minor and reposted by a third party to be removed, according to CNET. A photo that gets shared on the web would not be covered, for example.

And while personal data must be deleted off public sites if requested, it does not require that information be removed from servers — so the data is not totally gone, CNET also reported.

Websites such as Facebook and Twitter already allow users of any age to delete their posts.