Making it safer for the kiddos

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

toddler using a tablet computerThe Parents Television Council is excited that Congress appears to be taking an initial step toward helping to create a safer online environment for children.

The Kids Internet Design and Safety (KIDS) Act has been introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts). The senator unveiled the legislation at the second annual "Truth about Tech Conference" last week in Washington, DC, proposing limitations not only on advertising but also changes to "manipulative and damaging design features" that keep youngsters addicted to the screen (such as auto-play).

One of the groups lending strong support to the KIDS Act is the Parents Television Council. PTC president Tim Winter applauds the proposal, saying that while digital media platforms are a great benefit to consumers, the content on these platforms can be very toxic – plus the platforms themselves are designed to be addictive, especially for children.

Winter

"What we're seeing is there are ways to push back on the technology developers and the content providers to make sure that they're not targeting children, to make sure that they're not marketing unfairly to kids, [and to make sure] that they're not getting kids addicted to these platforms as they are currently," says Winter.

According to an NBC News report, the KIDS Act also tells technology companies to prevent the spread of harmful content and give parents a ratings system so they can better monitor what their children are seeing.

Winter tells OneNewsNow that the details in the proposed measure are still being worked out.

"The legislation will basically take 20th-century protections for children and bring them into the 21st century," he explains. "Obviously, we need to be very careful not to do anything to diminish or impair our cherished right to free speech that we have in our nation, but I think we can do that and help parents protect their kids as the same time."

Winter admits it will be a long process, but he remains excited that Congress is taking this initial step.

The group Common Sense also strongly backs the legislation, saying it addresses "the growing influence of tech on our kids and its unintended consequences."

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