Children and Media

Exposure to educational television has been shown to have positive effects on the social, intellectual, and educational development of children. Is it possible to find truly educational content on broadcast television? Articles below deal with 1) television broadcasters' obligation to provide educational programming for children, 2) efforts to shield children from indecenct programming, 3) advertising aimed at children and 4) children and violence.

Senate Commerce Committee Approves Bills

During an Executive Session, the Senate Committee on Commerce approved 11 bipartisan bills, including legislation aimed at protecting children’s online privacy: the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) and the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA). Other important bills approved included the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, the ORBITS Act, the TICKET Act, the COOL Online Act and several manufacturing bills. These bills now head to the Senate floor.

Approved:

A modest proposal: Ban cellphones in schools

Phones at school are "a disaster," said Jonathan Haidt, the prominent social psychologist, making the case for phone-free schools. "Smartphones impede learning, stunt relationships, and lessen belonging," says Haidt. Teachers and administrators see "clear links between rising phone addiction and declining mental health, to say nothing of declining academic performance. Back in 2019, Haidt asked school leaders why they couldn't just ban phones during school hours. "They said too many parents would be upset if they could not reach their children during the school day," he said.

Texas Passes Bill Restricting Teens' Social Media Use

Texas lawmakers approved a bill that aims to regulate teenagers' ability to use social media platforms. Unless vetoed by Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX), the Securing Children Online through Parental Empowerment Act (HB 18) will require social platforms to verify users' ages, and allow parents to access accounts of children under 18. The bill not only prohibits social platforms from serving “harmful” content to minors but also requires platforms to deploy filtering technology to screen out such material.

Social Media and Youth Mental Health

This advisory describes the current evidence on the impacts of social media on the mental health of children and adolescents. It states that we cannot conclude social media is sufficiently safe for children and adolescents and outlines immediate steps we can take to mitigate the risk of harm to children and adolescents. Key takeaways:

Do Broadband Subsidies for Schools Improve Students’ Performance? Evidence from Florida.

Studies exploring the relationship between technology in the classroom and students’ outcomes have yielded mixed results. We contribute to the debate by examining the effects of broadband subsidies to schools on school performance measures in Florida. Specifically, using a nearly universal panel of Florida schools in the period 2016-2019, we assess the effect of federal broadband subsidies to schools via the E-Rate program on school grades.

FTC Proposes Blanket Prohibition Preventing Facebook from Monetizing Youth Data

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed changes to the agency’s 2020 privacy order with Facebook after alleging that the company has failed to fully comply with the order, misled parents about their ability to control with whom their children communicated through its Messenger Kids app, and misrepresented the access it provided some app developers to private user data. As part of the proposed changes, Meta, which changed its name from Facebook in October 2021, would be prohibited from profiting from data it collects, including through its virtual reality products, from users under the a

Big Tech-funded groups try to kill bills to protect children online

Federal efforts to pass children’s online safety protections have languished amid disagreements between House and Senate leaders about which proposals to rally around.

States’ Push to Protect Kids Online Could Remake the Internet

In order to visit some websites, internet users Louisiana have to provide proof that they were at least 18. That’s because Louisiana lawmakers had passed legislation last year requiring publishers of online material that could be “harmful to minors” to verify that their users were adults.

Sens. Schatz, Cotton, Murphy, Britt Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Help Protect Kids From Harmful Impacts Of Social Media

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Katie Britt (R-AL) introduced new legislation to help protect children from the harmful impacts of social media. The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act would set a minimum age of 13 to use social media apps and would require parental consent for 13 through17 year-olds.  The bill would also prevent social media companies from feeding content using algorithms to users under the age of 18. The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act would: