U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, introduced a House resolution this month calling for tech companies to do more to protect minors from exploitable and inappropriate content made available by digital applications.

House Res. 721, introduced with Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., on Nov. 20, calls for “the establishment of an app ratings board to enforce consistent and accurate age and content ratings of apps on internet-ready devices” and for “technology companies to ensure the implementation of user-friendly and streamlined parental controls on devices used by minors.”

Additionally, the federal resolution asks Congress to impose sanctions on tech companies that do not comply with these requirements.

“As a parent to four kids, this issue really hits home for me,” the 4th District representative said in a press release. “This resolution is a common sense step that parents, tech companies and law enforcement can all support. Nothing should get in the way of keeping our children safe from online exploitation.”

While it is ultimately parents that monitor their child’s online behavior, McAdams said tech companies have an obligation to give parents streamlined app ratings and provide parental control resources.

McAdams cited Salt Lake County arrest records to emphasize the danger of exploitative apps, saying Salt Lake police “arrested 30 online predators in four days last month alone … in a crackdown on cybercrimes.”

The resolution was referred to and will be discussed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. It is supported by national groups including the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and the Fix App Rating Coalition, according to the press release.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald.

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