WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Kids’ online safety is in the spotlight as lawmakers hold a hearing to look at ways to protect children on social media. There’s been a bipartisan push to do that, and advocates are hopeful this helps the issue gain momentum.
Oregon mom Kristin Bride is painfully aware of just how dangerous social media can be for kids.
“I woke to the complete shock and horror that Carson had hung himself in our garage while we slept. In the weeks that followed we learned that Carson had been viciously cyberbullied by his Snapchat friends,” Bride said.
Her son Carson was just 16 when he took his own life. Bride shared her family’s devastating story at a hearing on Capitol Hill about online safety on Tuesday.
She also detailed how her family filed a lawsuit against Snapchat for facilitating the bullying, but it was dismissed.
“It should not take grieving parents filing lawsuits to hold this industry accountable for their dangerous and addictive product designs,” Bride.
Bride urged lawmakers to pass legislation cracking down on social media.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal agrees it’s past time.
“Big tech has relentlessly ruthlessly pumped up profits by purposefully exploiting kids’ and parents’ pain,” Blumenthal said.
Lawmakers have introduced several different pieces of legislation to require stricter online rules for minors and make tech companies more responsible for policing harmful content.
Sen. Lindsey Graham is involved in that legislative effort too.
“Some people are having their lives ruined. It’s now time for us to act,” Graham said.
With bipartisan support, lawmakers and advocates hope in this session of Congress lawmakers will actually get some online safety bills passed.
“This mental health crisis will persist, take more young lives unless Congress cares more about the kids online safety act than it does about big tech,” Blumenthal said.