Assemblywoman Buttenschon Co-Sponsors Legislation to Safeguard Children Online

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) announced she co-sponsored legislation to bolster privacy and security protections for New York’s youth while online. The New York Child Data Protection Act and the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act would help shield online users younger than 18 from addictive social media algorithms and personal data sharing (A.8148, A.8149).

“Understanding the numerous policies and terms of agreements across online services is hard enough for adults, much less children who have few privacy protections to protect them,” said Buttenschon. “As the mother of three grown children, I did not face the same challenges with bringing kids up in today’s media landscape. However, hearing from local parents about the dangers they try to protect their children from while online has motivated me to co-sponsor these two bills. I will always fight for measures that keep our children safe and protect their privacy.”

Children are often left vulnerable to having their location and other personal data tracked and shared with third parties while using online services. The New York Child Data Protection Act would prohibit websites from collecting, using, sharing or selling the personal data of anyone under 18, with some exceptions, and require parental consent for users younger than 13.

The SAFE for Kids Act would require social media companies to restrict the addictive features on their platforms that disproportionately harm younger users. The legislation would provide minors with a default chronological feed from users they already follow, which is how social media feeds typically functioned before companies began implementing algorithms that curate feeds. Parents would also have greater control over their children’s social media usage and be provided with enhanced restriction options for social media platforms.