What California's New Media and Tech Laws Mean for Your Kids

Check out this rundown of the laws the state recently passed that will affect kids' digital well-being. By Elizabeth Galicia
What California's New Media and Tech Laws Mean for Your Kids

You care about your kids and how the internet affects their lives. This year, Common Sense Kids Action worked to get several laws passed in California that will help improve kids' and families' digital lives. Here's a rundown of the laws the state recently passed that will affect kids' digital well-being:

Your Data, Your Choices. You might recall that in June we helped pass this law that will give Californians the right to know what information companies have on them and that will also allow you to opt out of sales of that information. For kids under 16, you or your teen needs to give permission before a company can sell their information. Stay tuned for more from us on how you can exercise your rights once the law goes into effect in January 2020.

Securing the Internet of Things. California has become the first state in the nation to require secure connected devices. Your Alexa, baby monitor, smart fridge -- there aren't any rules that say these internet-connected devices in our homes have to be secure (e.g., they can all have generic passwords that make them easily hackable). This bill would establish basic security standards for popular connected devices, and we'll continue to work to make these devices safe and secure for you and your family.

Democracy and Transparency on Social Media. Bots are automated accounts, and while some are harmless, bots are often used to fool people into believing fake and damaging news and to bully and harass. A new law would require that bots trying to influence votes or purchases must be labeled as nonhuman on social media platforms. There's more to be done to crack down on misinformation and harassment online, but this is a start.

Net Neutrality Is a Reality. California legislators passed the strongest internet law in the nation ensuring equal access to the internet for all. The law would keep the internet free and fair, prohibiting internet service providers from charging high fees to prevent slow speeds.

Digital Citizenship. California's Department of Education will zero in on media literacy in the coming year, looking at best practices around digital citizenship and learning and posting a range of media-literacy resources and tools on their website.

Parental Consent. Did you know that kids can buy age-restricted products like BB guns on Amazon without parental consent? Not so if this bill gets signed. It would require that kids under 18 get permission from a parent or guardian before they can buy restricted items.

Next up for all these laws: Governor Jerry Brown. If you want the governor to sign these bills, click here to send him a letter to make your voice heard. And stay tuned for our 2018 Vote for Kids Guide, where we'll score how your local legislators voted on bills that affect kids, coming in time for the November election.

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