Assembly Passes SAFE for Kids Act & New York Child Data Protection Act to Protect Kids Mental Health and Online Privacy

Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Nily Rozic today announced the Assembly has passed Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act and the New York Child Data Protection Act to help protect kids from addictive social media feeds and digital monitoring which could follow them for the rest of their lives. The passage of these is the first significant advancement in online child protection in New York since the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) went into effect in 2000.

“As technology evolves, so must the ways we protect our kids from harm – both on and offline,” Speaker Heastie said. “These bills will give parents the tools to help protect kids from predatory practices that impact their mental health by eliminating the addictive personalized feeds and will make online privacy the default for New York’s children, preventing companies from collecting and using their data. Thank you to our Assembly sponsor Nily Rozic and to Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and our partners in the Senate for all the work they’ve done on this to make online spaces safer for kids.”

“We must do all that we can to protect our kids from the harmful influence of addictive algorithms and unchecked data collection, the passage of the SAFE for Kids Act and the NY Child Data Protection Act are the straightforward first step in that effort,” said Assemblymember Rozic. “These new laws signal that New York is taking the lead in putting New Yorkers’ safety and privacy at the forefront. I thank Speaker Heastie, Governor Hochul, Attorney General James, and Senator Gounardes for their collaborative efforts in order to protect young people in the digital age.”

“Our children are enduring a mental health crisis, and social media is fueling the fire and profiting from the epidemic,” said Attorney General James. “The legislation my team worked on and supported along with bill sponsors Senator Gounardes and Assemblymember Rozic will help address the addictive features that have made social media so insidious and anxiety-producing. I applaud Governor Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and the legislative majorities for supporting this legislation and for agreeing that protecting children’s mental health must be a top priority. New York state is once again leading the nation, and I hope other states will follow suit and pass legislation to protect children and put their mental health above big tech companies’ profits.”

Social media platforms have developed addictive, personalized feeds that are designed to keep users engaged on the platform. These feeds have been tied to higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and self-harm in children. The SAFE for Kids Act (A.8148, Rozic) will prohibit social media platforms from providing these addictive feeds to children younger than 18 without parental consent. It would also require platforms to obtain parental consent in order to send notifications to children between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The New York Child Data Protection Act (A.8149, Rozic) will ensure that privacy is the default for minors, protecting their privacy and personal data by prohibiting online sites from collecting, using, sharing or processing the data of individuals under the age of 18. This will keep websites and digital services from keeping a record children’s online lives and decisions that could potentially be used against them.