California Parents Advocate for Sammy’s Law to Monitor Social Media Platforms

California Parents Advocate for Sammy’s Law to Monitor Social Media Platforms

California parents, Sam Chapman and Laura Berman, are pushing for the passage of SB 1444, also known as Sammy’s Law, in the state legislature. The proposed legislation aims to require major social media platforms to integrate with third-party monitoring software, allowing parents to be notified of concerning activities on their children’s accounts. The tragic death of their 16-year-old son, Sammy Berman Chapman, who purchased drugs on social media and died as a result, has motivated the couple to advocate for this law.

During a committee hearing in Sacramento on April 23, Laura Berman emotionally expressed that Sammy’s Law could have saved their son’s life. She highlighted the risks children face on social media, including exposure to predators and drug dealers. The parents were unaware of their son’s online activities and wish they had been able to monitor his account. Chapman described how the drug dealer delivered a lethal dose of fentanyl to their home, emphasizing the ease with which such transactions can occur.

Authored by state Senator Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, SB 1444 has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, bringing it closer to becoming law. State Senator Dave Min presented the bill on Stern’s behalf as he was observing the Passover holiday. Min emphasized the ongoing and severe harm that social media inflicts upon children and highlighted third-party safety software as a proven solution to enhance their safety.

However, the bill faces opposition from technology industry advocacy groups such as TechNet and Computer and Communications Industry Association, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. These groups express concerns about potential privacy infringements and data security risks associated with third-party monitoring platforms. Dylan Hoffman, representing TechNet, argued that the bill lacks adequate protections for user data and could enable invasive surveillance. There are also concerns that the software could expose children in unsupportive homes to further danger.

To address these concerns, the bill includes several guardrails and amendments. It prohibits the monitoring software from providing parents with information on their children’s reproductive decisions or gender and sexual identity. Min assured that minors would be informed if their parents choose to use the software. Additionally, all third-party monitoring software must register with the Attorney General’s Office, submit audits for review, and risk losing their right to operate in the state if they mishandle a minor’s data.

Chapman and Berman are also advocating for a federal version of Sammy’s Law, HR 5778, authored by Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz. They joined a group of grieving parents in Washington, D.C., earlier this year to support the law and other proposed bills aimed at protecting children on social media.

Chapman hopes that if the federal version fails, the California bill will have a widespread impact. He believes that if the state enacts the law, it will create a challenge for social media platforms to function with a patchwork of state protections, potentially leading them to adopt the most restrictive law nationwide. Chapman acknowledges that a state law alone may not drive national change but points to the “California Effect,” where stricter regulations in the state have often influenced nationwide standards.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. “Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.” – Bob Keeshan

    This quote resonates with the post because it emphasizes the importance of parents in shaping their children’s lives. It highlights the role of parents as role models and influencers, which aligns with the efforts of Sam Chapman and Laura Berman in advocating for Sammy’s Law. By pushing for

  2. I think it’s great to see parents like Sam Chapman and Laura Berman advocating for the passage of Sammy’s Law in California. It’s important for parents to have a voice and be proactive in ensuring the safety and well-being of their children. This law could potentially have a significant impact on protecting children and providing them with the necessary support and resources they need. I hope that the state legislature recognizes the importance of this issue and takes the necessary steps to pass this law.

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