California legislators voted on Tuesday to pass the nation’s first bill aimed at increasing online safety for children.
The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act is the country’s most robust legislation targeting online safety for minors. If signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, the bill would require social media and other digital platforms to put any new products through a strict vetting process to determine whether the product may be harmful to young users. It also makes it a default practice for platforms to offer safety measures for younger users.
“Children should be afforded protections not only by online products and services specifically directed at them, but by all online products and services they are likely to access,” reads the bill. “In order to help support the design of online products, services, and features, businesses should take into account the unique needs of different age ranges.” The measure was approved in a 33-0 vote.
“The passage of an age-appropriate design code in California is a huge step forward toward creating the internet that children and families deserve,” said Josh Golin, head of the children’s internet safety organization Fairplay said in a statement to the Washington Post on Tuesday.
The bill would punish platforms for failure to follow its guidelines by fining offending platforms up to $7,500 per minor affected by the content in question.
The successful passage of the bill by legislators follows the failure of another bill aimed at protecting minors from inappropriate content online. The Social Media Platform Duty to Children Act would have allowed parents of minors addicted to social media to sue online platforms for negative impact on their children.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE VERGE
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