TAMPA, Fla. — It was a presidential call to protect the mental health of America’s youth.
During Tuesday night’s State of the Union, President Joe Biden pointed to large technology companies and their social media platforms for contributing to mental health issues plaguing our children.
He recognized social media whistleblower Frances Haugen, who was in the audience, before asking Congress to pass legislation before both the U.S. House and Senate.
“It's time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children and demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children,” he said.
It was a moment during his address where he received bipartisan applause.
Fairplay is an organization that has done the research and says from toddlers to teenagers the data is there that children are being harmed. Executive Director Josh Golin says Biden elevating this issue in his address will lead to change.
“It is the business model that uses all of your children’s data in order to serve them content that is going to keep them online longer and longer so they can collect more data. It is a vicious circle that is undermining children’s mental health,” he said.
Representative Kathy Castor, a Democrat who represents Florida’s 14th District in the Tampa Bay area, has introduced both the Kids PRIVCY Act and the KIDS Act.
Each takes steps to protect the privacy of children online, require big tech to keep safety in mind in designing platforms and ban deceptive tactics that target kids when they are online.
“It’s time to strengthen online protections for our youngest neighbors, and I look forward to working with President Biden to get children’s online safety legislation across the finish line,” she said.