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New Bill Would Remake Kids Internet Content

A pair of powerful Democrats have drafted a bill that would change the face of children's online content/gaming industry. 

The Kids Internet Design and Safety (KIDS) Act, introduced Thursday (March 5) by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would, among many other things, ban auto-play settings, push alerts and reward "badges" on websites and/or apps for kids and young teens.

                                                 Sens. Ed Markey (L) and Richard Blumental

                                                 Sens. Ed Markey (L) and Richard Blumental

It would also prohibit web sites from recommending content with host-selling and influencer marketing, including "unboxing videos" to kids and young teens, or from "exposing children and young teens to marketing with embedded interactive elements." 

Related: Senators Push for Research into Tech Impact on Kids

“Powerful companies push kids to buy products at every turn online, and top platforms are saturated with disturbing content that no kid should ever be exposed to," said Markey, co-author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). "As a society, we’re playing catch up to the serious risks to kids online, and Congress has a responsibility to say loud and clear that Big Tech needs to get serious about the well-being of children and teens.”

“Big Tech has designed their platforms to ensnare and exploit children for more likes, more views, and more purchases,” said Blumenthal. "The KIDS Act puts guardrails in place to reign in recklessness of marketers and Big Tech – protecting children and giving parents some peace of mind.” 

“This groundbreaking bill will provide children with the 21st Century safeguards they urgently need today,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and one of the historically strongest voices for protecting kids online. “Children in the U.S. have been turned into digital “guinea pigs” as marketers and online platforms bombard them with commercial interactive applications designed to unfairly influence their emotions and behaviors. The 'Kids Act' will ensure that young people will be able to grow up in a world where they are no longer exposed to these unaccountable outside forces.”