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Governor Hochul Announces Legislation To Address Harmful Impact Of Social Media On Youth

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Governor Kathy Hochul today hosted a roundtable with students from Williamsville East High School in Erie County to discuss the youth mental health crisis and the challenges posed by unhealthy and excessive social media use. The Governor reiterated her commitment to enacting nation-leading legislation addressing online safety and the harmful impacts of social media in the final weeks of the 2024 State Legislative Session.

“I've heard from young people across our state about mental health challenges and the harmful impacts of social media,” Governor Hochul said. “Inaction is not an option – we need to act now to combat addictive social media feeds and protect our kids online.”

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The Governor is focused on advancing two pieces of legislation by the end of the Legislative Session in June. The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act will restrict the addictive features of social media and the New York Child Data Protection Act will restrict the collection of minors’ personal data by online sites.

In the FY25 Enacted Budget, Governor Hochul expanded mental health support for children across the state, fulfilling an agenda she outlined in her State of the State address in January. She announced $20 million in start-up funding for school-based mental health clinics and launched a rolling application to simplify the establishment of these clinics compared to the previous state procurement process.

This announcement built on the $5.1 million awarded in November to support 137 new school-based clinics, including 82 at high-needs schools, bringing the total number of clinics to more than 1,200 statewide.

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ahhh, yet more money thrown into school system to further detract from its actual purpose....EDUCATION

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Is this really the responsibility of the Government or a lot closer to , oh I don't know , say HOME ! 
And we will literally have another SAFE act !! 

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This state is starting to feel like China.  Social media is considered interstate commerce, isn't it?  Wouldn't any laws passed to restrict anything have to come from the federal level?

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Posted (edited)

One of the few aspects of social media (and the internet in general) that I believe is appropriate for the government to address......is holding adult subscribers accountable for activity that they allow children to engage in. 

No child is allowed to enter into a contract with a cell service or ISP. It’s the parents who own every device and agree to TOS for the services those devices transmit over. They are answerable for all content generated or stored therein. If those adults provided children access to any 'tangible' adult product (alcohol, etc), they would be held accountable. 

Starting over a decade ago with the first camera phones. If whoever owned that phone faced child pornography charges when a kid shared naughty pics via “sexting”.....parents would have found a way to stop it from happening really fast. Either by closer monitoring, or taking the device away. 

If a parent hands their 10yr old the keys to their car.....they are legally liable for any consequences that result. 

The same applies to children who bully or threaten other kids. If adults who “own” the device/service being used for those purposes are subject to prosecution, they will take action to prevent their kids from doing it.  

Edited by MsKreed
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The New York governor, Kathy Hochul, plans to introduce a bill banning smartphones in schools, the latest in a series of legislative moves aimed at online child safety by New York’s top official.

“I have seen these addictive algorithms pull in young people, literally capture them and make them prisoners in a space where they are cut off from human connection, social interaction and normal classroom activity,” she said.

Hochul said she would launch the bill later this year and take it up in New York’s next legislative session, which begins in January 2025. If passed, schoolchildren will be allowed to carry simple phones that cannot access the internet but do have the capability to send texts, which has been a sticking point for parents. She did not offer specifics on enforcing the prohibition.

 

Read the rest here.

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I’m not sure how I feel about banning smart phones even though I understand how addictive and dangers they can be to young, developing minds.  How would this be enforced?  What about installing some type of jamming device in schools to make the phones inoperable?  
I have to think about this despite knowing what I think won’t make  the slightest bit of difference to the powers that be in Albany.

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While i don't believe they belong in schools, I also don't see how this would be enforcable. So in the end it'll be yet more feel good legislation that makes for great press but little actual change. 

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1 hour ago, Chris said:

While i don't believe they belong in schools, I also don't see how this would be enforcable. So in the end it'll be yet more feel good legislation that makes for great press but little actual change. 

Exactly.  Would this ban also apply to staff?

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11 hours ago, Ann said:

Would this ban also apply to staff?

Doubtful, if only for the purpose of having a contact to the outside world in case of emergency.

For the record, I am all for kids not having their phones on during school hours. You're there to learn. And for the parents that say, "What if I have to contact them?" you do it the old-fashioned way: Call the office. It worked for a couple generations at least.

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6 minutes ago, Chris said:

Doubtful, if only for the purpose of having a contact to the outside world in case of emergency.

For the record, I am all for kids not having their phones on during school hours. You're there to learn. And for the parents that say, "What if I have to contact them?" you do it the old-fashioned way: Call the office. It worked for a couple generations at least.

Have they eliminated landline phones in the schools?  I also remember an intercom system in the classrooms, have these been removed.  Seriously curious, no snark intended.  I may have aged myself with those questions lol.

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I haven't a clue. But when you're on the second floor on the opposite side of a building and someone out in the hallway pulls a gun, do you want to wait for a secretary to answer the phone/intercom or do you want a direct line to help?

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In a rare bipartisan vote, the New York State Legislature approved new rules to ban harmful algorithms in children’s social media feeds.

Democrats and Republicans alike said the change will help improve kids’ mental health.

The measures ban big tech companies from showing algorithmic feeds to children and teens under the age of 18 and prohibit social media companies from making overnight push notifications to young people unless their parents consent to it.

A second bill forbids the companies from collecting and selling children’s personal data online without parental permission.

 

Read more here.

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Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday signed nation-leading legislation to combat addictive social media feeds and protect kids online.

Legislation S.7694A/A.8148A establishes the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) For Kids Act to require social media companies to restrict addictive feeds on their platforms for users under 18. Legislation S.7695B/A.8149A enables the New York Child Data Protection Act to prohibit online sites from collecting, using, sharing or selling personal data of anyone under the age of 18, unless they receive informed consent or unless doing so is strictly necessary for the purpose of the website.

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I haven't actually gone out and read any of those bills however my question is how do they plan to enforce it?  How will they know if someone is actually under 18?  Most of the terms for social sites are that you have to be 18 to use them but obviously it's not enforced.  

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