Programs

Protecting Children Online

Protecting Children Online

Protecting Children Online

One of our greatest responsibilities as a society is protecting our children and providing them with a safe, secure environment. Online predators take advantage of our youngest residents, exploiting their innocence. The Department relentlessly pursues criminal and civil cases against predators and those who make online technology available without regard to the well being of our children.

Holding social media companies accountable. In October 2023, Attorney General Platkin, joined by 41 states, filed lawsuits against Meta in federal and state courts, accusing the social media giant of deliberately addicting children and teens to Instagram and Facebook through harmful features. The suit alleges Meta misled the public about the safety of these features for young users. Additionally, New Jersey and 32 states filed a federal complaint, citing violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and state consumer protection laws, including the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The lawsuit aims to hold Meta accountable for prioritizing profits over the well-being of young people and contributing to a “youth mental health crisis.” The federal complaint alleges that Meta knew the harm caused by addictive features like infinite scroll and alerts, yet the company concealed these effects, which exacerbated the addiction of young users and adversely impact their physical and mental health. The lawsuit follows three years of investigations by multiple states and seeks accountability for Meta’s deceptive practices.

Preventing child identify theft. In recognition of National Child Identity Theft Awareness Day, the Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Consumer
Affairs (DCA) urged parents to take preventative measures to protect their children’s sensitive personal information from being stolen or fraudulently used. Identity theft is a growing problem with an estimated 915,000 children who were the victim of identity theft between July 2021 and July 2022 and 1.7 million children who were affected by data breaches that exposed – and potentially compromised – their personal information.