Lawmakers approve groundbreaking internet privacy law for kids

Students at a classroom at a school in Sacramento on May 11, 2022.

When does a kid become an adult? It’s an elusive question that developmental psychologists, philosophers and parents might answer differently. 

But lawmakers can’t work with ambiguity. So in the late 1990s, Congress decided that — at least when it comes to surfing the web — kids are people under 13. 

Last week, California legislators said: Nope. Kids are people under 18. And if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a bill they just passed, kids under 18 in California will get many more privacy rights online. 

What young people encounter on apps and the web has become a source of mounting concern for parents, fed by alarming headlines and new research. So a bipartisan group of legislators pushed forward the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, also known as AB 2273. Passed unanimously out of the Legislature last week, the bill could become a model for other states — or provide a roadmap for Congress, which is considering its own privacy bill. 

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