The comprehensive Kids Online Safety Act would enhance children’s safety online as Big Tech fails to protect kids on their platforms
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 10:00 AM ET, the Senate Commerce Committee will consider the Kids Online Safety Act, bipartisan children’s online safety legislation.
“The Commerce Committee’s markup of the Kids Online Safety Act will bring us closer to holding Big Tech accountable for putting profits above kids’ safety,” said Blumenthal. “This critical step shows much-needed momentum and strong bipartisan support for empowering kids and parents with tools and safeguards they need to shield against toxic, harmful content. I will continue to fight for its swift passage alongside Senator Blackburn, my partner in this important effort.”
“Protecting our kids and teens online is critically important,” said Blackburn. “I have heard firsthand countless stories of physical and emotional damage of teen suicide and mental health issues affecting young users, along with Big Tech’s unwillingness to change. The Kids Online Safety Act will address those harms by setting necessary safety guiderails for online platforms to follow that will require transparency and give parents more peace of mind. I’m glad this legislation is finally one step closer to getting across the finish line. Each day that we wait to put this bill on the books, is another day that children continue to be victims of big tech. I appreciate Senator Blumenthal’s work on this important effort.”
The bill’s introduction followed reporting and a series of subcommittee hearings spearheaded by Blumenthal and Blackburn with social media companies and advocates on the repeated failures by tech giants to protect kids on their platforms and about the dangers kids face online. The legislation would provide kids and parents with tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect against threats to children’s health and well-being online. It requires social media platforms to put the interests of children first, providing an environment that is safe by default and help prevent these destructive impacts. The legislation also requires independent audits and supports public scrutiny from experts and academic researchers to ensure that parents and policymakers know whether social media platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids. More information on the legislation can be found here.
The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).
The Kids Online Safety Act has been endorsed by 140 advocacy and technology groups, including Common Sense Media, American Psychological Association, Eating Disorders Coalition, American Academy of Pediatrics, 5Rights Foundation, American Compass, Internet Accountability Project, American Principles Project, Digital Progress Institute, and Plan International USA.