Young, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Kids Online Safety Act, comprehensive bipartisan legislation to protect children online and hold social media companies accountable.
“Hoosier parents are concerned about protecting their children online and want social media companies to do more to safeguard their platforms. Our bipartisan bill would require these companies to take new measures to protect children from harmful content and empower parents with additional tools to safeguard their children and protect their personal information,” said Senator Young.
The Kids Online Safety Act provides young people and parents with the tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect against online harms. The bill requires social media platforms to put the well-being of children first, ensuring an environment that is safe by default. The legislation requires independent audits by experts and academic researchers to ensure that social media platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids.
More specifically, the Kids Online Safety Act:
- Requires that social media platforms provide minors with options to protect their information, disable addictive product features, and opt out of algorithmic recommendations. Platforms would be required to enable the strongest settings by default.
- Gives parents new controls to help support their children and identify harmful behaviors, and provides parents and children with a dedicated channel to report harms to kids to the platform.
- Creates a responsibility for social media platforms to prevent and mitigate harms to minors, such as promotion of suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and unlawful products for minors (e.g. gambling and alcohol).
- Requires social media platforms to perform an annual independent audit that assesses the risks to minors, their compliance with this legislation, and whether the platform is taking meaningful steps to prevent those harms.
- Provides academic and public interest organizations with access to critical datasets from social media platforms to foster research regarding harms to the safety and well-being of minors.
In addition to Senators Young, Blackburn, and Blumenthal, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Katie Britt (R-Ala.) also cosponsored this legislation.
The Kids Online Safety Act is also supported by hundreds of advocacy and technology groups, including Common Sense Media, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Compass, Eating Disorders Coalition, Fairplay, Mental Health America, and Digital Progress Institute.
Next Article Previous Article