On Thursday, July 27, 2023, the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) were advanced out of the Senate Commerce Committee without opposition. For the past 18 months, Fairplay and our partners have been working tirelessly to get these bills passed. And now, we’re one step closer to making that a reality.
These bipartisan bills would require online platforms to prioritize the wellbeing and best interests of children when designing tech products and they would expand privacy protections to teens for the first time. Highlights of the bills include:
- Creating a “duty of care” requiring online providers to prevent serious harms to children on their platforms, including self-harm, eating disorders, sexual exploitation, cyberbullying and social media addiction.
- Banning manipulative data driven advertising to children and teens.
- Requiring platforms to have the strongest, most protective settings on by default for minors.
- Giving parents more tools to protect their children’s privacy, restrict purchases, and track their time on a platform.
We’re immensely grateful to our supporters who have advocated alongside with us thus far- we could not have done this without you!
Read on for statements from Fairplay Executive Director Josh Golin and some of the incredible survivor parent activists from our Online Harms Prevention Work Group who have been advocating tirelessly for these two essential bills.
Josh Golin, Executive Director, Fairplay:
“We commend Chair Cantwell, Ranking Member Cruz, and the Commerce Committee for advancing the Kids Online Safety Act and Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act. In the 25 years since Congress last passed meaningful online protections for children, social media platforms have honed their manipulative design techniques in order to addict children to their products and capture young people’s attention and data. As a result, countless young people are harmed online in serious and preventable ways every day.
Taken together, KOSA and COPPA will help create the internet all young people deserve – one that respects their privacy and autonomy and allows them to safely learn, play and connect. We look forward to working with members of both parties and both chambers in the fall to see this critical legislation to the finish line. Children and families simply can’t wait for Congress any longer.”
Joann Bogard, mother of Mason, who died at 15 after he participated in a challenge he’d seen on YouTube called the Choking Game:
“It is very promising that KOSA and COPPA 2.0 have finally passed through the Senate Commerce Committee. This brings American children one step closer to being sufficiently protected online. I anxiously await the rest of Congress to do the same and move these bills forward. Passing them into law will provide the online protections that all children deserve.”
Kristin Bride, mother of Carson, who died by suicide at 16 after vicious cyberbullying on anonymous apps connected to Snapchat:
“I am thrilled that KOSA and COPPA 2.0 have passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee today. Parents need help from Congress to create responsible safeguards for social media companies that continue to profit from designing addictive products that deteriorate our children’s mental health. I look forward to seeing KOSA and COPPA 2.0 brought to the Senate floor in September so that we can finally pass federal legislation designed to keep America’s children safer online.”
Maurine Molak, mother of David, who died by suicide at the age of 16 after months of cyberbullying:
“I am delighted that KOSA (S. 1409) and COPPA 2.0 (S. 1418) were voted out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today. I want to personally thank my Senator, Ranking Member Ted Cruz, and the rest of the members of the committee for their dedication to provide parents with tools to protect their children online and guard their mental health, ultimately saving young lives. We are now counting on the rest of Congress to follow suit and push these key pieces of legislation over the finish line before year end.”
Deb Schmill, mother of Becca, who died at 18 of fentanyl poisoning from drugs she and a friend purchased from a dealer they used Facebook to find:
“I am so grateful to Chair Cantwell, and members of the Senate Commerce Committee, for voting in favor of KOSA and COPPA 2.0, two bills that if enacted will save countless young lives. This vote is an important benchmark in what could be an historic year for protecting America’s children from serious online harms. I hope other parents will join me in contacting their members of Congress to voice their expectation that KOSA and COPPA 2.0 are passed in 2023.”