Press Releases

The Tech Oversight Project: Governors Have Opportunity to Take Action on Digital Youth Safety

Feb 21, 2024

Kids Code Bills Offer State-Led Solutions to Address Youth Social Media Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, Sacha Haworth, Executive Director of The Tech Oversight Project, issued the following statement:

“As the NGA gathers this week, safeguarding children online should be at the forefront of every Governor’s agenda. The pervasive and immediate dangers our children face every day online have catapulted this issue to the forefront of public discussion, with widespread bipartisan concern transcending political divides. State leaders should know they have a real opportunity to act this year with the Kids Code, a proven legislative model to safeguard young people’s privacy, rights, safety and well-being with a design-centered approach while offering states the tools they need to hold Big Tech companies accountable for recklessly exposing children to harm. State lawmakers across the nation have been stepping up to craft and champion Kids Code bills in collaboration with communities and stakeholders. As AI advances, the digital world becomes more complex than ever before, and Governors have an opportunity to champion Kids Code legislation and protect their youngest citizens online, now and for generations to come.”

Growing Momentum, Support for State Kids Code Bills

Widespread support for 2024 bills: Lawmakers are championing design-centered Kids Code bills across the country this year in states including Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina and Vermont, which have earned support from national leaders including New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Bipartisan calls for action: Support for the Kids Code approach transcends party lines, with Republican lawmakers spearheading or co-leading Kids Code efforts in states including Illinois, Maryland and South Carolina. This bipartisan legislative support reflects recent public opinion surveys, which show that overwhelming majorities across party lines support state legislative action to protect kids online (PPP, 1/29/24; Citizen Data, 4/13/23).

A comprehensive, customizable approach: Social media companies including Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and TikTok already comply with age-appropriate design code laws to protect kids abroad in countries such as Ireland and the U.K., while over the past year, U.S. state lawmakers, stakeholders and legal experts have tailored and improved state Kids Code bills to reflect American jurisprudence and state consumer protection laws and respond to community feedback.

Learn More

Pluribus News – Sparks fly over kids’ online privacy (Austin Jenkins, 2/16/24)

Politico – States get serious about limiting kids’ social media exposure (Ruth Reader, 1/13/24)

Washington Post – States looking to 2024 to pass revised kids’ online safety bills (Cristiano Lima-Strong, 1/2/24)

AP – Social media companies made $11 billion in US ad revenue from minors, Harvard study finds (Barbara Ortutay, 12/27/23)

CNN – Many US teens ‘almost constantly’ using YouTube, TikTok, new Pew Research report shows (Clare Duffy, 12/11/23)

ABC – Social media could have a ‘profound risk’ on kids and teens, US surgeon general warns (Shannon Caturano, 5/23/23)

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