Organization for Social Media Safety:


Here’s the story of how teens, social media and drugs collided in the online world resulting in absolute destruction. This is the story of Sammy. And here’s what Sammy’s mom wrote on her Facebook wall about her son.

“As many of you know, my son Sammy recently passed away due to an accidental overdose, caused by a drug dealer who was selling pills on Snapchat. Unbeknownst to my son, this dealer laced his pills with Fentanyl, leading to my son’s death.

Since then, so many have reached out to me, some with tragically similar stories, as well as many people wanting to know what they could do to help me, to help ease my pain.

Here is what I ask you: Please, talk to your kids about what happened to my son, about the fact that synthetic drugs are just as dangerous as ‘street’ drugs and that even though Snapchat may feel like a ‘safe’ place for kids to hang out, there are very real risks that exist across the platform.

To take action, I’ve also started a fundraiser to raise money for Organization for Social Media Safety (OFSMS). This national nonprofit is the first consumer protection organization solely focused on making social media a safer place for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable like our kids. From cyberbullying to sexual harassment to emerging threats like drug dealing on social media apps, the Organization for Social Media Safety is focused on offering education, resources, technology, and advocacy to help create a world in which people can use social media safely.

It’s unthinkable for me to live in a world without my boy, but focusing my efforts on making sure that no parent ever suffers the way I have is one way I am coping. If you are able, please consider donating to this fundraiser to help the Organization for Social Media Safety continue their important work and ensure that Sammy’s legacy lives on. Every contribution helps them protect families across the world from these horrific social media dangers.

If you can’t donate, please consider sharing, or making sure that the teens in your life (and the adults) know that synthetic opioids are everywhere and that social media apps like Snapchat are just as dangerous as darkened street corners when it comes to these drug dealers.

Please donate or share: https://www.ofsms.org/get-involved/donate/,

Xo Laura Berman and family”

The original post can be found HERE.



Time For Accountability From Big Tech:


From Dr. Laura Berman; a petition to Snap, TikTok, and every social media platform that our kids use.

Our son Sammy was an amazing kid — sweet, funny, curious, an A student. And like all parents, we worked hard to keep him away from dangerous people and places. But, like most parents, we had no idea that drug dealers were preying on our children using Snapchat and other social media platforms. And we had no idea illegal, untested drugs could be delivered to our house as easily as a pizza.

On February 7, 2021, an online drug dealer reached out to our son Sammy on Snapchat and delivered drugs to him at our home. He snuck out after we were asleep to meet the dealer, who gave him what turned out to be a lethal dose of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid twice as addictive as heroin, 100 times more powerful than morphine — and fatal even in microscopic doses. Sammy had no idea he was taking it.

As a result, we experienced every parent’s worst pain —we lost our son.

Sammy is but one of the millions of young victims of social media-related dangers this year. These dangers include:

Substance Abuse: One in four young people see illicit drugs advertised for sale on social media.
Cyberbullying: 34% of students report experiencing cyberbullying.
Suicide: Teens using social media more than 5 hours daily were found to be about 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts or actions than those who reported one hour of daily use. Based on the most recent Youth Risk Behaviors Survey from 2019, 8.9% of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
Sexting: 70.9% of tweens and 87.9% of teens encounter nudity or content of a sexual nature each year, and sexting is essentially the new “first base.”
Hate Speech: About 64% of U.S. teens have encountered hate speech on social media.
Trafficking/Predation: A whopping 82% of child sex crimes originate from online social media sites where predators gain knowledge of their victims’ likes and habits.

Children are being injured and dying, and families are being destroyed. We must act together now to save lives.

Want to get involved and help? Sign the petition today! Find it HERE.



Congress Jumps In With Accountability Bills:


Legislation around Social media companies and their accountability has been slow to come. But, things are moving the right direction, even if it means tragedies continue to plague kids and families who use social media.

There’s bipartisan congressional support for a few pieces of legislation that is putting the liability of keeping minors safe online to the Big tech companies who own social media apps. These bills aim to work in two ways. First, they give more parental controls to enable monitoring around kids’ use. And secondly, they hold companies accountable for what minors can consume on their platforms through compliance costs and threats of heavy fines.



Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act:


Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act or the RESTRICT Act

This bill requires federal actions to identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology (ICT) products and services (e.g., social media applications). It also establishes civil and criminal penalties for violations under the bill.

Read more HERE



Senate Bill No. 845 In California: Sammy’s Law:


This is about the “Let Parents Choose Protection Act of 2023” or “Sammy’s Law of 2023.”

Sammy Law was introduced into the California Senate. It would require social media platforms with minors on, to allow for parent monitoring software integration, to let parents protect our kids.

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Parents and legal guardians should be empowered to use the services of third-party safety software providers to protect their children from certain harms on large social media platforms.
(2) Dangers like cyberbullying, human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, sexual harassment, and violence perpetrated, facilitated, or exacerbated through the use of certain large social media platforms have harmed children on those platforms.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to require large social media platform providers to create, maintain, and make available to third-party safety software providers a set of real-time application programming interfaces, through which a child or a parent or legal guardian of a child may delegate permission to a third-party safety software provider to manage the child’s online interactions, content, and account settings on the large social media platform on the same terms as the child, and for other purposes.

More details HERE.



Kids Online Safety Act:


The Kids Online Safety Act puts the duty of care from the Social media companies, along with mandating guardrails for minors. This bill also includes provisions of parental tools for monitoring and other reporting mechanisms.


(a) Best Interests.—A covered platform shall act in the best interests of a minor that uses the platform’s products or services, as described in subsection (b).

(b) Prevention Of Harm To Minors.—In acting in the best interests of minors, a covered platform shall take reasonable measures in its design and operation of products and services to prevent and mitigate—

(1) mental health disorders or associated behaviors, including the promotion or exacerbation of self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, and substance use disorders;

(2) patterns of use that indicate or encourage addiction-like behaviors;

(3) physical violence, online bullying, and harassment of a minor;

(4) sexual exploitation, including enticement, grooming, sex trafficking, and sexual abuse of minors and trafficking of online child sexual abuse material;

(5) promotion and marketing of narcotic drugs (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), tobacco products, gambling, or alcohol; and

(6) predatory, unfair, or deceptive marketing practices, or other financial harms.

Similar to Sammy’s Law, the Kids Online Safety Act places a strong emphasis on enhanced transparency. A yearly audit and public report “identifying the foreseeable risks of harm to minors based on an independent, third-party audit[.]” would be required by the Act. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general would be responsible for enforcing the Kids Online Safety Act as it is now written. It would also direct the Secretary of Commerce to create the Kids Online Safety Council within a year of the Act’s adoption to offer guidance on its implementation.

Read more on the Kids Online Safety Act HERE.



The CHATS Act:


The CHATS Act or the Combating Harmful Actions with Transparency on Social legislation aims at cracking down on drug crimes that victimize children. Concerns over the transfer of potentially sensitive personal data to foreign governments are likewise given top priority under the CHATS Act.

The FBI will now be required by law to track down and report on crimes that take place on social media platforms. Similarly, the CHATS Act directs the Attorney General “to modify the uniform crime reporting program to include data on internet platforms used in connection with criminal offenses.”

Read more about the CHATS Act HERE.




Featured Image Copyright: Parents For Safe Children By Laura Berman


* * *


About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

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