New York State Department of Financial Services

05/30/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/30/2024 07:45

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul is a Guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe

May 30, 2024
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul is a Guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul is a Guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe

Governor Hochul: "Leave our kids alone. Let them socialize. They can talk to their friends but stop doing this. Stop selling our kids personal data for your financial gain. And also, parents should be able to turn it off at midnight, let the kids get some rest till 6 a.m. because otherwise, they're going to this place all night long and they're exhausted. So, as New York State's first mom Governor, this is something I know a lot about, and I felt personally that this is important to take this on, despite the opposition, on behalf of all parents."

Hochul: "It's so important to make sure that people are safe and feel safe on our subways... I'm going to tell you the numbers were heading up in January, we are now down 35 percent in violent crimes on the subway and we're back to pre-pandemic levels. So, we're not done. Still focused on it, but we're turning the tide and things are getting better."

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul was a guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Willie Geist, MSNBC: New York Governor Kathy Hochul is working now on a tight deadline to get new social media bills to the State Legislature before the session ends next week. The package would effectively install restrictions on social media companies when it comes to addictive features and collecting data on young people. And Governor Hochul joins us now in studio.She is a member also of President Biden's reelection campaign advisory board. Governor, it's great to see you this morning. We've already been having a robust conversation. As the parent of two teenagers about this social media legislation, why have you made this such a priority for your administration?

Governor Hochul: A little over a year ago, I started going on a listening tour around the State of New York - the boroughs in New York City, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, I was there, went to Buffalo, Albany. I've been sitting with teenagers in classrooms and in community centers and I have seen firsthand, not just from family members and nieces and nephews, but the addiction that is going on.

Our kids are being pulled in - to a place that is often very dark, and we need to help them get out of it. The social media companies profit off addictive algorithms that are bombarding our children with messages - not even inviting them in - they're just bombarding them, and they cannot turn it off. I'm saying, leave our kids alone. Let them socialize. They can talk to their friends but stop doing this. Stop selling our kids personal data for your financial gain. And also, parents should be able to turn it off at midnight, let the kids get some rest till 6 a.m. because otherwise, they're going to this place all night long and they're exhausted.

So, as New York State's first mom Governor, this is something I know a lot about, and I felt personally that this is important to take this on, despite the opposition, on behalf of all parents.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: Yeah, I was telling you that our kids have to put their phones in the kitchen before they go to bed, because you're exactly right. Their friends, many of them, are up all night. All night going into school, exhausted and sort of bleary eyed because they've been on their phones. So what specifically, let's start with the SAFE Act, Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation for Kids Act, what specifically would that do if it makes it through the Legislature?

Governor Hochul: It outlaws these unwelcome algorithms. Now algorithms are just formulas, that's fine. But the ones that are intentionally addictive, they know exactly the ones, and I'll give you some scary examples. A lot of young people are finding they're depressed now. The number of young people, particularly girls, who are contemplating suicide is one out of three. That's a fairly new development. Our kids are in a dark place. They're feeling depressed, anxious. If a young person puts the word 'suicide' out there, they might be looking for help, "What can I do to not be contemplating suicide? What help is out there?" They will bombard them with how to commit suicide. Think about that. You're not getting help. You're getting bombarded with messages and messages on how you can commit suicide. So, this is the trap they're in.

We're telling social media companies you are not allowed to bombard young people with these addictive algorithms. Let them socialize. Let them do some of their clubs online. I know what they're doing. But it does not have to be for your own profit motive to get them hooked so they can't put that device down.

Also, we're saying parental controls - let parents be able to turn it off from midnight to 6 a.m. Those are the dark hours. That's when they need their rest. They're not functioning well. They're not building up the resiliency that you need to be able to deal with life's stresses because that comes from a good night's rest. And they don't have a way to escape.

And I'll never forget the young woman I met just a few weeks ago. She says, "You have to save us from ourselves." And I thought that was a cry for help because one person can't put it down because they're cut out of everything else all their friends are doing and it's just too much of a pull; that peer pressure is too great.

So, we're telling the companies you also cannot be selling - and collecting and selling - personal information from our young people. There have to be controls. And people who say, "How are you going to verify age? It's too hard." You can't gamble online if you're underage. There are ways that companies know how to identify who is of age and who isn't. So, all this opposition, I guarantee you they can figure it out, and we're not giving up on this fight.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: And Mike, there of course, we've talked a lot about national efforts and measures like these in the United States Congress. You have bipartisan efforts to protect kids, to protect young girls specifically. Because as Jonathan Haidt wrote in his extraordinary book, we've basically run an experiment on our kids for the last 15 years, and the results are in.

They become more depressed, they become more anxious, they've had more suicidal ideation because they are locked in this universe on their phones.

Mike Barnicle, MSNBC: Yeah. I mean, the fact is they spend more time with their phones than they do with their parents. But one of the underlying factors here, Governor, and perhaps you could speak to it in touring the state and talking to various pupils and teachers and parents - the pandemic years, 2020 to 2022, depending on your age, whether you were 12 or 14 when the pandemic began, you virtually spent a couple of years living in isolation, lacking socialization, lacking the ability to meet and establish stronger friendships with your peer groups, with fellow students, your friends, your former friends, stuff like that. What impact do you think that has had on what we're dealing with now?

Governor Hochul: It was devastating. Just gather a couple of young people together and say the word pandemic. You can see in their faces that this is something that was traumatic for them. That isolation, especially you think of a young person who's going from middle school into high school. This is when you're supposed to make your friends and socialize and go into clubs and emerge into the early signs of the adult you'll become. They lost all of that. The only connection they had was their device and it was lonely, and they told me that. I mean, some of these young women, I had a meeting with them in Brooklyn.

We don't really know how to interact with each other anymore. They say this to me because we had two years of just communicating on our devices. So, the other challenges, not just the effects of this, but that was the rise of these algorithms at the same time. So, they fed off each other. And the other thing is, and I've started talking about this, I'm going to go around the state and have more conversations.

Why are young people on their devices all day long during school hours? How are they learning? How are they multitasking in a way that they're checking out what everybody's going to be doing this weekend and scrolling and seeing different feeds and listening to their geometry class? That was hard enough class for me paying attention, so this is what's going on now. But individual schools are making decisions. The majority are allowing it and I understand the fear that a parent has when they send their child off to school. You don't need to see another school shooting, a mass shooting and have that fear of your most precious person in your whole life, something could happen them.

I'm okay if you have a flip phone - your child wants to talk to you, or you need to have a conversation. They say, "Can you pick me up at 3 o'clock?" Text them a message, but you don't have to be in the world of social media throughout the day. So, let's talk about that for New York. Now I can - I want to have conversations first.

But I think talking to the parents I have already, this is something they would welcome. They want their kids to be kids again and not be held captive to this force. Just be a kid again.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: And there are ways to put them away at the beginning of the school day. There are ways that they do that at concerts and all those kinds of things.

Governor Hochul: Of course, there are.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: Before I let you go, I do want to ask you about the issue of crime in New York - how it's going so far this year. We're almost five months into a new year. Obviously, there have been concerns about what's happening on the subway. Violent crime, I know, is down for the most part this year. How are you looking at any progress that's been made? Because it is still top of mind, as you know, among New Yorkers.

Governor Hochul: It sure is, Willie. It's so important to make sure that people are safe and feel safe on our subways. The last time I was here in March was when we announced that we were sending the National Guard into the subway.

Controversial for some, not for me. I needed to work with Mayor Eric Adams - who was increasing the number of NYPD patrolling - and I said, "I can help you. I have the National Guard, I have State Police, I can send transit police. Let's have a show of force." Not to be intimidating, but to say to people, if something goes wrong, there's help right here.

And the physical presence since we did that a few months ago - I'm going to tell you the numbers were heading up in January, we are now down 35 percent in violent crimes on the subway and we're back to pre-pandemic levels. So, we're not done. Still focused on it, but we've turned the tide and things are getting better.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: Let's hope it continues in that direction and we will be keeping close tabs on your social media legislation as well. Perhaps as early as next week. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Governor - thanks for your time today.

Governor Hochul: Thank you.

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