Bill to Educate Young People About Online Privacy Approved by full Assembly

Posted by in Consumers

As the influence of social media continues to grow, Assembly Democrats Celeste Riley, Paul Moriarty and Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. are pushing to create a web campaign to inform young people about online privacy and social media responsibility.

The Assembly recently advanced a measure (A-2933) 73-5 that directs the state Department of Law and Public Safety to operate a website with information about how to protect one’s privacy on the Internet, how to use social media responsibly and protect one’s privacy while using social media, and the potential negative consequences of failing to protect one’s privacy on the Internet or to use social media responsibly.

“Many young people use social media, but don’t really understand the information and images they share online lives in perpetuity,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Educating our kids about the perils of sharing personal information online will help them make better decisions about what is and what is not appropriate for the web.”

“Social sites allow us to connect with friends and family around the world, but they can also be breeding grounds for predators,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This campaign will help our young people make responsible decisions and avoid the dangers that lurk online.”

“One poor decision can haunt you into adulthood,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “Young people need to know that what they share on the web is public and permanent. By letting them know how to protect themselves, they will hopefully think twice about oversharing online.”

The department must produce or hire someone to produce instructional videos on how to use the privacy settings on popular websites and social media platforms and post them on the website. The department must also maintain an active presence on popular social media platforms and use these platforms to disseminate information relating to the campaign, and to encourage young people to access the information on the website.

The bill authorizes the department to partner with student organizations, state academic institutions, and local and state agencies to generate content for the website or to develop and promote training programs and seminars designed to support the campaign. The department may also develop an internship program to assist in creating content for the website, disseminating information through the website, or in any other manner that is relevant to the campaign.

The measure now awaits consideration by the Senate.