Romney Joins Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Youth from Online Harm

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today cosponsored the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), bipartisan legislation led by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), to provide young people and parents with the tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect against online harm to minors. The bill requires social media platforms to put the well-being of children first by providing an environment that is safe by default.

“Social media is making our young people more vulnerable to cyberbullying, addiction, and long-term mental health challenges. Large tech companies have failed to institute measures to adequately protect children and teenagers from these hazards, and we have little indication that things will change without legislative action,” said Senator Romney. “I’m proud to join a majority of my colleagues in cosponsoring this legislation which would require social media companies to equip parents and their children with the necessary tools to keep themselves safe online.” 

“We want to empower parents so they can better protect their children from the harms of social media and this legislation does that. We appreciate Sen. Romney’s leadership in this important policy area,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox.

“Young people today are facing a national epidemic of depression, anxiety, and loneliness — and unchecked social media companies are robbing them of their social skills and human relationships,” said Kerry Healey, former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and Co-chair of Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media. “These platforms have designed their products to maximize profit without regard to the impact, and they do so by exploiting our children’s anxieties and keeping their attention longer. KOSA directly addresses the harmful social media business model by placing the health and wellbeing of our children over advertising revenue. We applaud Senator Romney’s leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working together to pass KOSA into law.”

“This overwhelming bipartisan support for the Kids Online Safety Act—62 total co-sponsors, Democrats and Republicans—reflects the powerful voices of young people and parents who want Congress to act,” Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn said in a joint statement. “The recent watershed hearing with Big Tech CEOs showcased the urgent need for reform. With new changes to strengthen the bill and growing support, we should seize this moment to take action. We must listen to the kids, parents, experts, and advocates, and finally hold Big Tech accountable by passing the Kids Online Safety Act into law.”

Additional cosponsors of the Kids Online Safety Act include U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Peter Welch (D-VT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Katie Britt (R-AL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Carper (D-DE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), James Lankford (R-OK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Thune (R-SD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Angus King (I-ME), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).


Children and teenagers have become increasingly attached to their electronic devices. Children ages 8 to 12 spend an average of five hours per day on their screens, while teenagers log over 8 hours every day. Last August, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services launched an awareness campaign highlighting statistics on the dangers of social media on children. These include:

  • Teens who spent more than 3 hours per day on social media faced double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes.
  • Nearly half of teens ages 13 to 17 said using social media makes them feel worse.
  • Almost 60% of teenage girls say they’ve been contacted by a stranger on social media platforms in ways that make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Nearly half of girls who use TikTok say they feel “addicted” to the platform or use it more than intended at least weekly.

The Kids Online Safety Act, which is supported by over half of the U.S. Senate, will help keep our children safer by:

  • Requiring social media platforms to provide minors with options to protect their information, disable addictive product features, and opt out of personalized algorithmic recommendations;
  • Giving parents new controls to help protect their children and spot harmful behaviors, and provides parents and educators with a dedicated channel to report harmful behavior;
  • Creating a duty for online platforms to prevent and mitigate specific dangers to minors, including promotion of suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and advertisements for certain illegal products (e.g. tobacco and alcohol); and
  • Ensuring that parents and policymakers know whether online platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids by requiring independent audits and research into how these platforms impact the well-being of kids and teens.

Text of the legislation can be found here.