Senators introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that aims to help parents have better control over their children’s online habits.
What’s happening: The new Kids Online Safety Act — sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. — will require online companies to offer “easy-to-use” tools for those younger than 16 years old and their parents, according to The Washington Post.
- The bill would also require platforms to limit screen time and protect a child’s data.
- Companies would be required to build tools that can track online time for children, as well as ways to opt-out of features that would extend time spent online, per The Washington Post.
- The bill would also require companies to allow parents and minors the chance to modify the platform’s algorithm in order to ban specific types of content.
What they’re saying: “In hearings over the last year, Sen. Blumenthal and I have heard countless stories of physical and emotional damage affecting young users, and Big Tech’s unwillingness to change,” Blackburn said, per The Washington Post. “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.”
Why it matters: The new act comes as lawmakers continue to put pressure on big tech companies to make their apps more transparent, especially when it comes to how the apps treat young people, according to The Hill.
- “Big Tech has brazenly failed children and betrayed its trust, putting profits above safety,” Blumenthal said in a statement, according to NPR. “The Kids Online Safety Act would finally give kids and their parents the tools and safeguards they need to protect against toxic content — and hold Big Tech accountable for deeply dangerous algorithms.”