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The Kids Online Safety Act: Privacy Invasion or Protecting Kids?

      In America, parental rights have become an issue of debate in America with some states passing laws that restrict children’s use of the internet in hopes of protecting them. Similarly, there is a bill in the Senate that aims to protect kids too. The Kids Online Safety Act has received much more support in the Senate as there have been bipartisan support for the bill from both sides of the aisle, even attracting support from President Biden. If enacted into law, this law would allow parents to see what their child is doing on the internet. They can even look through their social media, text messages, emails, digital footprint, and can even access things that are deleted. This law is applicable to people 16 and under. Parents are allowed to enable their children’s device settings to choose how their kids should use the internet. Social media platforms are held to a higher standard to prevent promoting gambling, alcohol, and other content that can be detrimental for minors. Some advocacy groups worry that the bill may invade privacy of internet users and can violate users’ freedom of speech. As many as 100 organizations stated their opposition to the bill. Introduced by Senator Blumenthal and Senator Blackburn, the bill aims to allow state attorney generals to look at companies who do not follow guidelines in protecting children. Kids under 13 would be banned from using social media and children above 13 but under 17 must require parental permission to use social media.

    Some civil rights organizations voiced concern for the LGBTQ+ Community as these people may have more trouble in finding a safe space online and potentially accessing helpful resources. Some members of the LGBTQ+ Community also expressed concerns fan fiction stories about LGBTQ+ Content could be banned/restricted. While the bill includes some protections for LGBTQ+ individuals like

     On TikTok, the bill was met with negative criticism, with many users agreeing how it violates the privacy of children online. Despite the bill being supported by senators on both sides of the aisle, dozens of civil rights organizations expressed opposition to the bill, citing concerns it would increase surveillance without doing much to protect children. If the bill is signed into law, there is no doubt that this bill would significantly impact how children use the internet.

Sources

https://www.malwarebytes.com/blog/news/2022/02/us-senators-introduce-the-kids-online-safety-act kosa

https://reason.com/2022/11/18/the-kids-online-safety-act-would-make-it-less-safe-online/
https://techcrunch.com/2023/07/28/fan-fiction-writers-rally-fandoms-against-kosa-the-bill-purporting-to-protect-kids-online/

https://www.npr.org/2023/02/14/1156905760/blumenthal-blackburn-kids-online-safety-senate-bill

 

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