Maryland looks at new ways to protect kids on social media

Lawmakers in Maryland are proposing new protections for kids using social media, and many parents are on board.

Christine McComas is from Howard County. Her daughter Grace was 15 when she died by suicide, after experiencing online bullying.

“Don’t Maryland children deserve the same protection as other kids? Of course they do. I know Grace deserved more protection,” McComas said, urging lawmakers this week to pass the bill.

The measure models a California law recently passed but is being challenged by a lobbying group representing several social media companies.

The new legislation is called the Maryland Age Appropriate Design Code Act. It would, among other things, restrict data collection and profiling of children, require high-privacy settings by default, and turn off geolocation.

Lola Nordinger grew up in Montgomery County, and she said that she has felt the pressures of social media. She said it is time to act.

“Girls my age are struggling with more mental health issues than ever before and are directly correlated with the technology we use,” Nordinger said.

The legislation is sponsored by Del. Jared Solomon, a Democrat who represents Montgomery County; Del. C.T. Wilson, a Democrat who represents Charles County; state Sen. Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who represents Montgomery County; and Sen. Chris West, a Republican who represents Baltimore and Carroll counties.

Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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