Our Advocacy team works at the NC General Assembly to lobby for youth issues. Stay tuned for our announcement of our 2023-24 legislative statewide advocacy initiatives later this spring.
Fighting Dangerous Social Media Algorithms
As young people, we’ve suffered as addictive social media algorithms make our generation isolated and depressed. Social media platforms use the massive amount of user data they’ve collected on users to recommend content that they know will keep users online for as long as possible, like content that promotes eating disorders and political extremism.
Our team of students crafted legislation to directly address this issue based on our experiences as young people and are fighting for its passage into law. We directly speak with political leaders to educate them on the importance of legislation to regulate surveillance-based social media algorithms.
In North Carolina, we have a regular presence at the NC General Assembly, and our legislation was recently introduced in the state House with over half of the 120 representatives as cosponsors, and then passed unanimously out of the Judiciary Committee.
In Washington DC, our policy team works on Capitol Hill to advocate for algorithm-focused provisions in federal social media legislation. In our first two months of presence, we met with over 100 Congressional offices and got algorithmic provisions included in the Kids Online Safety Act.
Ending Child Marriage
We worked with a wide coalition of activists, politicians, and nonprofits to advocate for an end to predatory child marriages in North Carolina. Prior to our work, adults would come to North Carolina as a place to legally coerce children into forced marriages.
We played a supporting role in developing the legislation in meetings with to end child marriage by helping to craft language that would be effective and acceptable to politicians.
We also lobbied legislators through phone banking (organizing students to call key legislators in support of the bill) and helping to organize other student-led groups to support the effort, as well as going to the General Assembly to lobby legislators with the coalition.
As a result, the NC General Assembly passed legislation to raise the marriage age to 16, require that the age gap of the people to be married is no more than four years, and create safeguards like a waiting period and parental permission.
Youth Driver’s Licensing
When legislation was proposed to reduce the year-long period where students must have a permit before they can get their license, we were asked for our thoughts given our work on youth/student issues.
We conducted research on the issue, examining the data and meeting with traffic safety experts, and found that the proposed changes could result in increased youth fatalities from having less experienced drivers on the road.
We worked with the experts to craft an alternative approach that would achieve the bill’s intent of being convenient for families while also avoiding an increase in traffic fatalities. We then advocated for the NC General Assembly to amend the bill to reflect these improvements.
As a result of our advocacy, the bill was limited to expire at the end of the year, addressing driver’s licensing inconveniences coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic while not creating a permanent increase in traffic fatalities. The bill was passed into law in this form.