Bipartisan Minor Internet Protections KOSA Bill Working Through House

Bipartisan Minor Internet Protections KOSA Bill Working Through House

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
April 11, 2024

US Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) recently filed the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) to strengthen protections for minors surfing the internet.  

If passed, KOSA would require online platforms frequented by minors to execute a series of actions geared towards protecting minor users.

Namely, KOSA would require such platforms implement design features to mitigate and prevent a series of potential harms linked with minors’ usage of the internet. 

Harms flagged by KOSA include mental health disorders, addictive behaviors, physical violence, sexual exploitation, and illegal substance trafficking. 

KOSA would demand platforms embed “safeguards” that proactively seek to prevent minors from suffering any of the potential harms linked to internet browsing. 

These would include limiting design features for minor users that entice increased screen time, such as  infinite scrolling, auto playing, rewards, notifications, and other elements designed to expand usage.

Platforms would also have to provide parents of minor users with tools to help manage a minor’s use of a platform, including control safety setting options, screentime tracking, and purchase controls. 

KOSA would mainly apply to large social media and similar companies amassing annual revenues of over $2.5 billion or monthly participation from over 150 million users. 

Representative Bilirakis was joined by Representatives Kathy Castor (D-FL), Erin Houchin (R-IN), and Kim Schrier (D-WA).

Bilirakis described the proliferating mental health disorders plaguing teenagers and American youth as motivating KOSA’s introduction. 

“Teens are constantly connected through devices and their reality is a blend of virtual and real-world experiences, which are proven to exacerbate isolation and negative social interactions such as bullying,” said Bilirakis.

“Through multiple Congressional hearings with whistleblower testimonies, it is clear that there is widespread, bipartisan consensus that Big Tech has failed to mitigate the risks, improve transparency, empower parents, and safeguard their youngest users. Our legislation will require them to do so."

KOSA is being led in the Senate by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

At the state level, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently enacted a social media ban for kids 16 and under

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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