WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Some lawmakers say social media is harming the country’s kids. That’s why they are pushing a bipartisan bill to provide kids and parents with better tools to protect themselves online.
“We lost our son Mason to the viral social media challenge, the choking game,” survivor parent Joanna Bogard said.
“My son was 14 when he was bullied for being black,” Social Media Reform Advocate Tracy Kemp said.
Parents and advocates shared stories Tuesday on how social media is harming kids.
“The constant quantification of my worth through likes, comments, and followers, increased my anxiety and deepened my depression,” Design It For Us Youth Advocate Emma Lembke said.
To stop that in the future, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are introducing legislation to promote online safety.
“Our bill aims to reduce the harms,” Blumenthal said.
“Our children are suffering at the hands of big tech,” Blackburn said.
The bill forces big tech to prioritize care for kids and provide transparency about their algorithms.
“It says to big tech, you must reduce or mitigate harms,” Blumenthal said.
But some tech groups say the bill is the wrong approach to creating a safe environment online.
“Legislation like what we’re seeing here assumes that it is all bad,” NetChoice VP & General Counsel Carl Szabo said.
Szabo says he is concerned the bill gives the government too much power to regulate the internet. Instead, he says lawmakers should focus on empowering young users.
“Congress does have the power through the Department of Education to require social media education, just like we require reading, writing, and arithmetic,” Szabo said.
Szabo says he also fears this bill would make personal data more available.