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Child Online Safety Legislation

Young girl wearing headphones and lying on a bed looking at the screen of a laptopAs the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do the concerns around the safety and well-being of our youth. Various child online safety legislation measures are being proposed, debated, or implemented at federal and state levels in response to these concerns.

The Center for Information, Technology, and Public Policy (CITAP) at UNC, in collaboration with the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University and the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, developed a comprehensive primer that delves into these legislative measures, examining their potential impacts and implications.

Highlights Include:

  • An explanation of the concerns driving the push for child online safety legislation (COSL) and the proposed solutions.
  • A review of major international, US federal, and state legislative efforts, with a focus on the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA).
  • A discussion of the primary justifications for COSL, including mental health, sexual exploitation and abuse, eating disorders and self-harm, and social media addiction, along with an evaluation of the evidence supporting each.
  • An analysis of the potential negative consequences of these bills, including privacy risks, free expression limitations, and the impact on youth access to vital community resources and social connections.

This primer is a valuable resource for academics, activists, policymakers, and anyone interested in understanding the complexities of child online safety legislation.


Read the Report


By Felicity Gancedo

CITAP Program and Communications Coordinator


Updated July 19, 2024