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Some Good Ideas, But Privacy, Constitutional Problems Plague the “Kids Off Social Media Act”

WASHINGTON—Last week, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the Kids Off Social Media Act. While the Senators have the laudable and important goal of wanting to protect children and teens online, unfortunately, the legislation falls short of achieving such a goal. 

Not all the components of this bill are problematic. For one, requiring schools that receive federal funding to adopt screen time policies and make them publicly available promotes transparency and empowers parents to make informed decisions about their children’s technology use.

However, banning young people under a certain age from accessing online services entirely and tightly limiting access for teens not only conflicts with the U.S. Constitution and creates serious privacy and surveillance concerns—it removes parents entirely from making the best decisions for their families. Further, it would require all Americans—regardless of age—to verify their information and chill constitutionally-protected speech online. And in a similar manner to another problematic proposal, this bill also would give enforcement power to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been abusing its existing authority and disregarding oversight by Congress. 

“Senators have good intentions with the Kids Off Social Media Act, and setting national standards for schools on screen time is completely reasonable. But the bill’s restrictions on access to digital services replace parents with big government, enable surveillance and censorship by bureaucrats, jeopardize all Americans’ online privacy and disregard the First Amendment,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel. “To keep kids safe and secure online without violating American privacy and principles, lawmakers should pass the bipartisan Invest in Child Safety Act, which would give law enforcement essential resources to investigate predators, prosecute them and keep them off the streets—and the internet.”

Learn more about NetChoice’s SHIELD proposals here

Please contact Krista Chavez at with inquiries.