Advocates urge Congress to pass online kids’ safety reforms
Tech and children’s health advocacy groups on Tuesday sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass legislation providing protections for kids and teens online.
The letter follows President Biden’s call for social companies to be held accountable for their impact on kids’ safety during his first State of the Union address earlier this month and builds on bipartisan momentum in Congress to add additional regulations.
“The current unregulated business model for digital media is fundamentally at odds with children’s wellbeing. Digital platforms are designed to maximize revenue, and design choices that increase engagement and facilitate data collection, all of which put children at risk,” the advocates wrote, according to a copy of the letter shared with The Hill.
The letter is signed by 60 advocacy organizations, including Fairplay, the Center for Digital Democracy, Accountable Tech and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It was addressed to the top lawmakers of both parties in the House and Senate.
The letter does not detail specific bills Congress should put forward but calls for lawmakers to pass legislation that would protect kids and teens broadly online, not just on “child-directed” sites.
It also urges Congress to pass bills that would ban targeted advertising to young people, prohibit algorithmic discrimination of children and teens, require platforms to turn on the most protective settings for minors by default and provide greater resources for enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.
“Congress has the ability to make children safer, give parents and caregivers peace of mind, and promote an internet that serves children, rather than taking advantage of them. We urge you to use that power, and create the internet American children and teens deserve,” the letter states.