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Daines Introduces Bill To Protect Children’s Safety Online

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., helped introduce the “Kids Online Safety Act”, a bipartisan bill to protect Montana children online and hold Big Tech accountable. The “Kids Online Safety Act” provides Montanans with the tools, safeguards and transparency to protect against online harms. The bill requires social media platforms to put the well-being of children first, ensuring an environment that is safe by default. The legislation requires independent audits by experts and academic researchers to ensure that social media platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids.

“Montana children are the future of our state and our country,” said Daines. “That’s why it is essential that we do everything possible to empower parents with the proper tools to protect their children from dangers online.”

The “Kids Online Safety Act” is supported by hundreds of advocacy and technology groups, including Common Sense Media, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Compass, Eating Disorders Coalition, Fairplay, Mental Health America, and Digital Progress Institute.

The “Kids Online Safety Act:” * Requires that social media platforms provide minors with options to protect their information, disable addictive product features and opt out of algorithmic recommendations. Platforms would be required to enable the strongest settings by default.

* Gives parents new controls to help support their children and identify harmful behaviors, and provides parents and children with a dedicated channel to report harms to kids to the platform.

* Creates a responsibility for social media platforms to prevent and mitigate harms to minors, such as promotion of suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and unlawful products for minors (e.g. gambling and alcohol).

* Requires social media platforms to perform an annual independent audit that assesses the risks to minors, their compliance with this legislation and whether the platform is taking meaningful steps to prevent those harms.

* Provides academic and public interest organizations with access to critical datasets from social media platforms to foster research regarding harms to the safety and well-being of minors.

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