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  • Writer's pictureSara

Why the "The Kids Online Safety Act" Is Harmful

In todays blog we’re going to talk about The Kids Online Safety Act, otherwise known as KOSA and similar bills popping up in the U.S. The "Kids Online Safety Act" (KOSA) is a bill introduced in the United States Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (DCT) and Marsha Blackburn (RTN) in February 2022[1] and reintroduced in May 2023; the bill "sets out requirements" to protect minors from harm on social media platforms.[2] The bill charges individual state attorneys general with enforcing the bill.[3] The bill has been criticized by civil rights organizations for potentially enabling censorship of material important to marginalized groups. KOSA is a bipartisan bill introduced to the senate in 2022 and then reintroduced again in 2023. The aim of the bill is to protect usage of the internet by minors. Its similar to the California bill Age-Appropriate Design Code Act. The intention is to protect children from accessing harmful material online. However, both bills are extremely problematic in many ways and could have far reaching implications for more than just how kids use the internet.

First of all, the internet is not, and has never been for kids. Its barely safe for most adults. KOSA seeks to restrict minor access to subjects such as healthcare (specifically healthcare considered to be gender affirming care) and history, especially history revolving around slavery and the civil rights movement in the united states. KOSA aims to restrict minor access to what could be considered “Harmful” material in their use of the internet. And here’s where the first issue with this bill and other like it comes in: the government gets to decide what’s harmful and whats not.

In order to restrict this, web platforms and social media platforms will be required to determine with reasonable accuracy if someone is a minor or not. How do they determine if someone is a minor or not? Platforms will have to create a verification process that will include a person uploading thier state issued ID to access information. Platforms will also have to store this information, in case of an audit in which the government will want to verify who is accessing the platforms and information. With data and security breaches happening as often as they have been, do we really want websites holding on to our government issued IDs? Meta already got caught selling user data without permission and now the government expects us to just hand over our iDs to these platforms?

KOSA also gives every states attorney general the power to sue any platform for having any kind of information that could be considered “Harmful” to minors. This could be anything from a fun dance on tiktok to information regarding mental health and wellbeing.

Some of the bill objectives include things like not using “dark coding”, an industry term for practices that are designed to hook people on the site and keep them there or keep them coming back. Which, honestly that’s good for everyone. The bills don’t want sites and platforms collecting meta data, geo locations and other relevant data to minors, or advertise age restricted products to an audience they think are children. The bill wants these sites to allow parents to be able to monitor their Childs site activity with reports and tools. Which, as a millennial, our parents had those tools already. Try to add a content restriction to a child over 13 on the family connect app and your shit out of luck- Thanks google.

All of these things are good things. Things that we used to have and these sites got rid of. We could absolutely have a lot of these things without the censorship that these vague bills will doubtless introduce in order to make the internet "safe for kids.”

Another big red flag for KOSA is the upcoming Project 2025; a Heritage Foundation funded, 950 page document detailing how the next republican president should structure policies starting the day the new president takes office. They plan on enacting internet censorship and banning porn.

Per the Project 2025 mandate: Pornography should be outlawed. The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered. ( )

You read that right: conservatives want to imprison anyone making and distributing porn. Thats porn stars, producers, directors and the websites/companies making and distributing it- Bye But that also includes you and me. We’re the devil in conservative eyes because we make porn. Not only is our livelihood at risk, but so is our very freedom if this comes to pass.

If KOSA is enacted, it throws the doors wide open, at a federal level, for the conservatives to heavily restrict, censor and monitor the internet usage of every single American. KOSA and Project 2025 will allow the government to determine what can and can not be posted on platforms like X(formerly known as twitter), Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok. It would even allow them to restrict what we can watch on streaming services!

So what can you do to help stop KOSA from being passed. Call you state senators and tell them you do not approve of KOSA and you, as their constituent do not want the bill to be passed. Use this script if you would like to "Hi, I am urging you to VOTE NO on KOSA, s.1409. Almost 100 human rights and LGBT organizations came out in an open letter opposing it in 2022 and 2023 because of how dangerous it is. The new language does NOT meet any concerns brought up, in fact many organizations were ignored. Major news have reported that this bill actively harms kids. When you look online through social media, you will find hundreds of posts by Gen Z who are opposed to this bill. We do not want this."

This bill would allow any state attorney general to sue any website for “harmful” content. When you have Republicans calling anything LGBT “sexual exploitation” or anything about race “CRT” to successfully ban books and teachers, then they will use any justification to censor the internet. The Missouri attorney general used “mental health” successfully to ban gender-affirming care with backed up research. Suicide rates will skyrocket for marginalized youth with this bill restricting content.

Multiple experts agree this bill pushes age verification, even with the new language. KOSA hands more private data of children to third party companies. Furthermore, updated language threatens encryption the same way the Earn It Act does. How is this protecting children’s privacy?

Do your own research on KOSA and Project 2025, stay informed. Stay Safe. We love you.

Sara Lyn

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