New York governor signs kids’ online safety laws

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed two laws Thursday that aim to mitigate the impact of social media on kids’ and teens’ mental health by regulating how social media companies provide addictive features for children and how they collect and use data of minors.

Social media platforms will be prevented from providing addictive features for children without parental consent under The Safe For Kids Act. They would also be prohibited from collecting, using or selling personal data of kids and teens without consent under the Child Data Protection Act.

“Today we save our kids,” Hochul said.

Hochul underscored the need for the legislation based on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on kids and teens as the health crisis pushed youths to spend more time online while physically isolating.

As she signed the two bills, Hochul pushed Congress to take action. She also backed the proposed idea to add warning labels to social media platforms, as Surgeon General Vivek Murthy advocated for earlier this week in a New York Times guest opinion essay.

New York’s passage of the bills comes as Congress has considered federal legislation that would put guardrails in place for how tech platforms operate for teens and kids. Despite holdings hearings with tech CEOs about kids’ online safety and mounting pressure for action, Congress has yet to pass a kids’ online safety or updated data privacy bill.

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