A recent poll released by Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media and Fairplay shows near-universal support among U.S. voters for bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting children and teens from online harms. This poll comes at a crucial time when another whistleblower has testified before Congress about the detrimental effects of social media platforms like Meta on young users.
According to the survey conducted by Hans Kaiser and Associates/Hart Research, a staggering 87% of the electorate believes it’s imperative for the president and Congress to address the harms caused by social media platforms. This sentiment cuts across political lines, with 86% of Trump voters and 88% of Biden supporters in the 2020 presidential election echoing this need.
The poll further indicates that a vast majority of voters, 94%, recognize the mental health challenges facing today’s youth as a severe issue. A significant 73% attribute these challenges to social media, acknowledging its adverse impact over the last two decades.
The bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), which mandates social media platforms shield minors from specific online dangers, including the promotion of eating disorders, suicide, substance abuse, and sexual exploitation, has garnered substantial support. An impressive 86% of voters back KOSA, which also proposes new safeguards for children and parents, including default safety settings and penalties for companies whose platform designs expose children to harmful content.
“Parents have had enough. They’re doing everything they can to keep their kids safe online, but parents can’t do this alone,” said Alix Fraser, director of Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media. “Congress must take action now by passing KOSA into law. Voters are demanding leadership, and it’s time for lawmakers to deliver on their promises and take meaningful steps to keep our children safe online and finally hold tech companies accountable.”
The support for KOSA transcends party affiliations, with 84% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats, and 81% of independents favoring the bill. Only a mere 8% oppose it.
“For years, Big Tech has put profits ahead of kids’ lives while Congress has sat on the sidelines,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Fairplay. “Our nation’s leaders can no longer be silent in the face of a strong bipartisan majority of the public that wants to see strong action to protect young people online. KOSA will make the internet a safer and healthier place for kids and teens.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics also stands firmly behind KOSA. Mark Del Monte, its CEO, highlighted the broad public understanding and support for the bill’s objectives.
Introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, and Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, KOSA was unanimously passed by the Senate Commerce Committee in July and currently awaits a full Senate vote. With nearly fifty cosponsors from both parties, KOSA represents a significant bipartisan effort to combat the challenges posed by social media to children and teens.
The online poll of more than 1,200 people was conducted between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 and has a 3% margin of error.