Bipartisan Push for Kids Online Safety: The Kids Online Safety Act aims to Protect Children on Social Media

Members of Congress have introduced several bills to bolster online protections for children and teens. One proposed measure, the Kids Online Safety Act or KOSA, would compel online services like social media networks, video game sites, and messaging apps to implement “reasonable measures” to prevent harm to minors using their platforms, including online bullying, harassment, sexual exploitation, anorexia, self-harm, and predatory marketing. This act would also mandate the activation of the highest privacy and safety settings by default for users under 18 and empower young people to limit or opt out of features like personalized newsfeeds, smartphone notifications, and autoplaying videos that lead to compulsive app use. Cosponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal, KOSA has garnered support from numerous senators, children’s groups, and medical associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. In a notable move, Snap, the company that owns Snapchat, has become the first social media giant to endorse KOSA.

However, the far-reaching bill is facing significant opposition. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have objected to it on the grounds of free speech. Specifically, these groups are concerned that the bill’s broad and vague definition of harm could compel social media and other apps to censor content on politically divisive issues such as reproductive health or gender identity.

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Moms Managing Girl Influencers: A Marketplace Stalked by Men

Elissa began receiving threatening messages early last year from a person calling themselves “Instamodelfan” targeting her daughter’s Instagram account. Despite having over 100,000 followers, the account has been under scrutiny for potentially exploiting children in exchange for money. However, the issue runs deeper than that. Research from The New York Times found that the platform […]

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Insights from The Times’s Investigation of Child Influencers

Instagram maintains the 13-year-old minimum age for accounts, but parents can take control, largely for their daughters’ ambitions to become influencers. Parents initiate their child’s modeling career or gain favor from clothing brands, but a dark subculture emerges, controlled by men attracted to minors, as per The New York Times. The emergence of mom-run profiles […]

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Rising Threat: China’s Growing Cyber Espionage and the New Vulnerability

Beijing’s Networks Expanding Hacking Efforts China has spread its hacking reach with new tools that exploit computer vulnerabilities and a network of contracted vendors. The large scale of China’s hacking operations poses a significant threat, with the FBI reporting China’s hacking program to be larger than all major nations combined. The U.S. has tracked consistent […]

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