Statement on Senator Blumenthal and Blackburn’s Proposed Kids Online Safety Act

For Immediate Release
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Today, Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn re-introduced The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a measure that would implement foundational design requirements to make platforms safer for kids and teens. The bill – initially introduced last year – would provide crucial safeguards and transparency requirements to protect children and teens’ health and well-being online.

Accountable Tech Co-Founder and Executive Director Nicole Gill released the following statement:

“The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) represents a critical step towards protecting our kids and teens online. Big Tech companies are shamelessly cashing in on a perverse business model that harms young people: purposely designing social platforms to keep kids clicking, collecting and retaining their intimate personal data, and then selling that data to the highest bidder – all while raking in record profits.

“It’s no wonder our recent survey with LOG OFF showed that over 90% of American teens find themselves scrolling for too long. Manipulative design features are custom-made to keep young minds hooked on social media – with devastating results for their mental health, safety, and well-being.

“If passed, KOSA will finally force Big Tech companies to put the safety of their most vulnerable users above their bottom lines. It will provide long-overdue transparency reforms, disable addictive product features by default, and ensure privacy is baked into the design of platforms. We urge Congress to pass this bill immediately. Millions of young people across the country are depending on it.”

Background on Accountable Tech’s work to protect kids and teens online:

  • Last year, Accountable Tech worked with local groups and teen activists to advocate for the passage of The California Age-Appropriate Design Code —  a first-of-its-kind measure to protect the safety of children and teens online. The bill passed unanimously in August.

  • In March, Accountable Tech and LOG OFF released new polling showing that the design of social media and online platforms is actively harming U.S. teens.

  • Working with youth advocacy groups LOG OFF and Tech(nically) Politics, AT supported the launch of ‘Design It For Us’, an innovative multimedia effort for young people to share why online spaces should be designed with them in mind.

  • AT has helped hundreds of young Californians make their voices heard in support of the bill through petitions, storytelling, and contact-your-legislator tools – part of AT’s ongoing work to ensure young people have a seat at the table.

  • Learn more about Accountable Tech’s previous work on online safety for kids and teens HERE.