Kids Online Health and Safety Task Force
Social Media and Online Platforms and the Effects on Youth Mental Health
In May 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration announced actions to protect youth mental health, safety, and privacy online as part of the Administration’s efforts to address the unprecedented youth mental health crisis. These actions build upon the U.S. Surgeon-General’s Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health (PDF | 1 MB), which describes the current evidence of the impacts of social media on children and adolescents.
The Administration’s action includes the development of a Task Force on Kids Online Health and Safety to advance the health, safety, and privacy of minors online with particular attention to preventing and mitigating the adverse health effects of online platforms on minors.
“While there are benefits in using social media, it's important to consider the potential negative effects on the mental health of children and young people. With this outreach, our aim is to identify existing and emerging risks to minors, suggest further research, and recommend best practices and standards to evaluate, prevent, and reduce potential online harm to young people. Our key goal is to identify ways to support and protect the mental health of current and future generations.”
Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use
The Task Force is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Substance Use and Mental Health Administration, in close partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce. It has been tasked with the following:
- Review the status of existing industry efforts and technologies to promote the health and safety of children and teenagers vis-à-vis their online activities, particularly with respect to their engagement in social media and other online platforms.
- Review and compile best practices to assist parents and legal guardians in protecting the privacy, health and safety of their children who use online platforms.
- By Spring 2024, the Task Force will develop voluntary guidance, policy recommendations, and a toolkit on safety-, health- and privacy-by-design for industry developing digital products and services.
The Task Force will provide a forum for the member agencies to collaborate, prioritize options, and implement a coordinated approach in identifying best practices and for youth and their families who have experienced, or are at risk for experiencing, adverse health effects and harm associated with online platforms.
task force members
Task Force Members
The Task Force members represent the following federal agencies and departments:
- Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce, Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Office of the Surgeon General (OSG)
- Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
U.S. Department of Commerce
- National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
U.S. Department of Education
- Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development
Federal Trade Commission
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans
U.S. Department of Justice
- Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Executive
Office of the President
- Gender Policy Council
- National Economic Council
- Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Domestic Policy Council
- Office of the Vice President
- Office of the First Lady
Press Releases and Written Comments
- Media Advisory: Kids Online Health and Safety Task Force Listening Session (Jan. 30, 2024)
- NTIA to Hold Industry Listening Session on Kids’ Online Safety (Jan. 4, 2024)
- NTIA Receives More Than 500 Comments on Protecting Kids Online (Nov. 30, 2023)
- NTIA Seeks Comment on Protecting Kids Online Link to RFC (Sept. 28, 2023)
- Statements of Assistant Secretary Delphin-Rittmon & Assistant Secretary Davidson on the Inaugural Meeting of the Task Force on Kids Online Health & Safety | National Telecommunications and Information Administration (July 11, 2023)
The Kids Online Health and Safety Request for Comment is closed. The comments are available to the public via Regulations.gov. These comments will help inform the Task Force’s work in developing voluntary guidance, policy recommendations, and a toolkit on safety-, health- and privacy-by-design for industry to apply in developing digital products and services. For more information, please contact KOHSrfc@ntia.gov.
The Task Force held stakeholder roundtable discussions on the following dates in 2023.
- September 27, 2023
- September 20, 2023
- September 13, 2023
- August 31, 2023
- February 27, 2024
- March 6, 2024
If you are interested in participating in the roundtables, please contact the Interagency Task Force on Kids Online Health and Safety at KOHS_TaskForce@samhsa.hhs.gov.