Internet policies currently allow children and young people to connect with legitimate apps, such as for gaming or education, and then be profiled and exposed to age-appropriate advertising. But then they start receiving not-so-appropriate ads. Pansy Watson of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation tells American Family News it does not stop there.
"In addition to that, the standards are such on the internet that it's very easy for predators to target kids and groom kids," Watson notes. "That's led to an explosion of exploitation and predatory behavior online."
In an effort to establish a national commission on online child sexual exploitation prevention, and for other purposes, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina has introduced the "EARN IT Act of 2022," which tells internet sources to get their act together or pay a price.
"It's asking websites to earn their immunity from lawsuits by doing some good-faith moderation," Watson explains. "That would be actually like moderating how third parties interact with kids and doing something to protect kids from that and doing something about reducing the amount of child sexual abuse material that's out there and that's circulating."
She says the bill also provides a path for justice for survivors of abuse by permitting the Department of Justice to file lawsuits.
However, the proposal has not moved, partly because Congress has been busy with other issues and COVID-19. But Watson believes the tech industry's influence on Capitol Hill is also a factor.