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Riley, Quijano, Pinkin & Mosquera Legislation to Help Kids Avoid Pitfalls of Social Media Use Passes Assembly

Bill Aims to Educate Young People About Online Privacy

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Celeste Riley, Annette Quijano, Nancy Pinkin and Gabriela Mosquera to create a web campaign to inform young people about online privacy and social media responsibility was recently approved by the full Assembly.

“Many young people use social media, but don’t really understand that the information and images they share online live 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.”

The measure (A-2409) would direct 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, how to protect one’s privacy while using social media, and the potential negative consequences of failing to do so.

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

Under the bill, 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.

“As the influence of social media continues to grow, it’s important that we teach young people how to avoid the pitfalls that can arise. Taking a collaborative approach to the issue will help ensure a more effective educational strategy,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex).

“Gone are the days when kids can only access the Internet through one family computer shared and monitored at home,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “With the proliferation of smart phones they can access it anytime, anywhere so it requires a coordinated partnership to make sure they’re using it responsibly.”

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 passed 75-3 on Thursday, May 22. The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee approved the bill earlier in May.