March 14, 2024. ParentsSOS Mobilize Support for Kids Online Safety Act with Passionate Appeal to House Leaders, Calls on Congresswoman McMorris Rogers, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to Act



Jaime Horn
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ParentsSOS Mobilize Support for Kids Online Safety Act with Passionate Appeal to House Leaders, Calls on Congresswoman McMorris Rogers, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to Act

Washington, DC – March 14, 2024Today, over 100 families who lost children to social media harms, called on House leadership to introduce a companion bill to the Kids Online Safety Act. The letter, written and organized by grieving parents and survivors affiliated with ParentsSOS, an initiative of 20 families advocating for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), has been sent to Speaker Mike Johnson, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Ranking Member Frank Pallone. It powerfully narrates the agonizing experiences of families who have lost children to the dark side of social media, including suicide following relentless cyberbullying and sextortion, and deaths due to fentanyl poisoning from drugs bought through social media platforms. 

Thanks in large part to survivor families, KOSA now has 66 cosponsors in the Senate – 33 from each party – and the support of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. But to date, the House has lagged behind on children’s online safety and hasn’t even introduced the wildly popular bipartisan legislation. 

In a statement, Maurine Molak, co-founder of ParentsSOS, stressed, “We need House leaders to immediately prioritize the Kids Online Safety Act. We are tired of seeing more families joining our ranks and more kids dying of preventable causes online because of Congressional inaction, particularly from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. With ten months left to her tenure, the choice for Chair McMorris Rodgers is clear: do nothing, which is exactly what Big Tech would like, or leave an indelible legacy of saving children’s lives.”

“I lost my son Ethan when he was just 13 years old after he tried a dangerous social media challenge called the “Choking Game” and it went horribly wrong. He learned about this lethal viral trend after it was recommended on social media to a classmate,” said ParentsSOS member Jeff Van Lith of Washington state. “Since losing my son, my universe has been completely altered. While nothing can bring him back, if Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers will greenlight a House companion bill for KOSA, she can play an integral part in saving other families this unimaginable pain. I can’t understand what could be stopping her.”

It has been 25 years since Congress last passed legislation to protect children online, long before smartphones and social media even existed, and before most of the children represented in this letter were born. Highlighting the staggering increase in mental health issues among children and teens, the letter emphasizes that the time for action is now: 

As parents raising our children in the digital age, we did everything we were supposed to. We discussed with our children the dangers they might encounter online and how to react to them, warned them against speaking to strangers on the internet, and encouraged them to come to us with their worries. That was not enough: even an engaged parent with all the time and resources in the world doesn’t stand a chance against manipulative design features and profit-seeking algorithms pushing harmful content to their kids.

KOSA is vital legislation that aims to prevent and mitigate severe harms to youth, including suicide, eating disorders, mental health issues, cyberbullying, illegal drug sales, and sexual exploitation. Additionally, it addresses the issue of social media addiction, which often leads to these severe consequences. The legislation also provides essential tools for families and young people to protect themselves online, including default protective settings on platforms and measures for users to control content recommendations and opt out of addictive features. The bill also mandates an external audit of the platforms to evaluate their efforts in preventing and mitigating risks to minors.

The letter and its call for immediate action signify a critical moment in the ongoing effort to ensure online safety for children. Advocates continue to urge Senator Schumer to bring KOSA to a floor vote in the Senate while setting their sights on the House for parallel legislative action.


Parents for Safe Online Spaces (ParentsSOS), is an educational initiative created by families who have lost children as a result of online harms. The initiative’s goal is to raise awareness about the importance of the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a piece of legislation addressing growing concern about the impact of online and social media platforms on children and teens. The initiative can be found on X as @Parents4SOS, on Facebook as Parents for Safe Online Spaces, and online at