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Hochul Lauds Crackdown on Youth Social Media Use

Once signed into law, social media companies must restrict addictive feeds for users under 18.
Stock photo of teens on their cell phones.

Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday celebrated the passage of two bills in the state legislature to protect kids online.

Albany lawmakers passed two bills on Friday; the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act will restrict a child’s access to addictive feeds on social media, and the New York Child Data Protection Act will keep children’s personal data safe, according to a news release. 

The SAFE for Kids Act will require social media companies to restrict addictive feeds on their platforms for users under 18. Unless parental consent is granted, users under 18 will not receive addictive feeds. It will also prohibit social media platforms from sending notifications regarding addictive feeds to minors from 12:00am to 6:00am without parental consent.

The New York Child Data Protection Act will prohibit online sites from collecting, using, sharing or selling personal data of anyone under the age of 18, unless they receive informed consent or unless doing so is strictly necessary for the purpose of the website.

Once enacted into law, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will have the authority to seek civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, among other remedies. It also calls for the establishment of acceptable age verification and parent consent methods, to be determined by the OAG as part of a rulemaking process once the legislation is enacted, the press release said. 

“New York is leading the nation to protect our kids from addictive social media feeds and shield their personal data from predatory companies,” Hochul said. “Together, we’ve taken a historic step forward in our efforts to address the youth mental health crisis and create a safer digital environment for young people."