Creating a design code

Designed with Kids in Mind is a multi-pronged campaign which includes public education, pressuring digital media companies to improve their design choices, petitions for Federal Trade Commission rulemakings, and legislative advocacy.

There are a number of important bills in Congress that would achieve key elements of a design code. Please check this page for updates about this legislation and how you can help advocate for a design code!

There are a number of bills on both the federal and state level that have the potential to create strong, effective online protections for children and teens. Learn more about these essential bills below.

Federal Legislation
Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act

State Legislation
California Age Appropriate Design Code
Social Media Platform Duty to Children Act

Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA)

This legislation (S. 3663) from Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn would require online platforms to prioritize the wellbeing and best interests of children while designing their products. 

The bill would:

– Establish a “duty of care” for online providers, requiring them to eliminate or mitigate the impact of harmful content on their platforms;

– Require platforms to have the strongest, most protective settings on by default for minors;

– Give parents more tools to protect their children’s privacy, restrict purchases and track their time on a platform;

– Require social media platforms to perform an annual independent audit that assesses risks and whether the platform is taking meaningful steps to prevent harms to minors;

– Expand enforcement tools for FTC and state attorneys general;

– Provide researchers and nonprofit organizations access to “black box” algorithms to assist in research on algorithmic harms to children and teens.

Kids Internet Design and Safety (KIDS) Act

This legislation (S. 2918) from Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal, and Representatives Kathy Castor and Lori Trahan, would protect young users online from manipulative marketing, amplified harmful content, and manipulative design. 

The bill would:

– Prohibit platforms from amplifying violent, inappropriate, and dangerous content to children and teens; 

– Ban features that lead to overuse and compulsive checking of devices, like auto-play, push notifications, and rewards for spending more on a platform (e.g. Snapstreaks);

– Eliminate public displays of quantified popularity such as likes and follower counts for children;

– Stop platforms from recommending content that includes influencer marketing like unboxing videos.

Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth (PRIVCY) Act (HR 4801)

This legislation (H.R. 4801) from Representative Kathy Castor would expand on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and incorporate key elements of the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code

The bill would:

– Require sites “likely to be accessed by children and teens” to make the best interests of young people a primary design consideration and conduct regular risk assessments; 

– Establish a Youth Marketing and Privacy division at the FTC; 

– Ban harmful uses of children’s data, including prohibiting all data-driven surveillance advertising to anyone under the age of 18; 

– Allow parents to sue on behalf of their children if their privacy rights were violated.

Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (S. 1628)

This bipartisan legislation (S.1628) from Senators Ed Markey and Bill Cassidy would:

– Expand privacy protections to teens for the first time, establishing a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” that limits the collection of personal information;

– Expand protections for children under 13, including banning surveillance advertising and placing a greater responsibility on companies to get parental consent before collecting any data from a child;

– Create an “eraser button” to make it easier for parents and teens to delete a minor’s information from a website or app; 

– Establish a Youth Marketing and Privacy division at the FTC.

California Age Appropriate Design Code

This legislation (AB2273) from California State Assembly members Buffy Wicks and Jordan Cunningham would require platforms to make the best interests of children a primary design consideration when making their products.

The bill would:

– Require companies to prioritize the safety and privacy of children in the design of any digital product or service that children in California are likely to access;

– Restrict data collection and profiling of children in ways that are risky or harmful to them;

– Maintain the highest level of privacy settings by default and switch off geolocation by default;

– Provide easily accessible reporting tools for concerns about privacy and inappropriate behavior.

Social Media Platform Duty to Children Act

This legislation (AB2408) from California State Assembly members Buffy Wicks and Jordan Cunningham would impose a duty on social media companies not to addict child users through the sale of personal data or the use of push notifications or other design features intended to increase minors’ engagement with a social media platform.

The bill would also:

– Create a private right of action that would allow families to hold companies accountable for addictive social media harms.
– Incentivize social media companies to build their platforms in ways that promote, not undermine, young people’s wellbeing.

Want to learn more about Designed with Kids in Mind and our efforts?

Stay up to date with the latest news from our organization and learn more about how you can get the conversation started with your legislators.