Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and a mother whose child was the victim of a TikTok challenge discussed how big tech serves as a danger to children on Unmuted with Marsha, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
Blackburn, who recently introduced the Kids Online Safety Act with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), hosted Joann Bogard, a mother who lost her child to a TikTok challenge.
Blackburn and Blumenthal released their bill as a means to provide minors with options to protect their information, disable addictive product features, and opt out of personalized algorithmic recommendations. The bill also seeks to provide parents with more control to spot harmful behaviors.
Breitbart News reported:
The legislation is backed by senators across the political spectrum and by hundreds of advocacy and technology groups, including Common Sense Media, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Compass, Eating Disorders Coalition, Fairplay, Mental Health America, and Digital Progress Institute.
Bogard how her son, Mason, fell victim to the TikTok choking challenge.
The choking challenge involves:
Also known as the “blackout challenge,” this dangerous stunt encourages internet clout-seekers to asphyxiate themselves until passing out. Experts have warned that the bizarre viral trend is potentially dangerous — and can result in fainting, brain damage, seizures and worse.
However, after a video about the incident went viral, she said that spreading awareness about dangerous social media trends would be her “calling.”
“Because that was Mason, he would stand up for the underdog, those who didn’t have a voice and didn’t know what to do, he would figure it out and find a way to fix it,” she remarked.
WATCH: Rep. Bob Latta Slams CEO of China’s TikTok over Dangerous Trends Killing American Children:
House Committee on Energy and Commerce / YouTube
Bogard now spends much of her time trying to identify and remove harmful and dangerous trends on TikTok and YouTube. Bogard said that research found that only one-in-twenty videos with the choking game were removed from popular social media platforms.
Bogard said that the Kids Online Safety Act would help mitigate the virality of dangerous social media challenges and trends. Blackburn noted that social media platforms often do not take down dangerous videos “unless they’re forced to.”
“That’s absolutely true,” Bogard responded. “I know, as a mom, I struggled to figure out how to turn on those safety features, how to do all of those things that we want to do to keep our kids safe, make sure that the apps they were downloading are age appropriate. So, KOSA, the Kids Online Safety Act, would help so much with those things.”
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Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.