Parents of Chicago teen cyber-bullied to death speak out after Senate hearing

WASHINGTON - Tech leaders were taking tough questions from the Senate on Wednesday.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing for legislation to protect kids and teens online, and they came face-to-face with parents who’ve lost loved ones and say the app makers must do something to make the online environment safer for children.

The crowd was filled with parents, including two Chicago parents, of bullied victims.

"I feel him missing every day, every minute of every day," said Rose Bronstein about her son, Nate, who took his own life in 2022 after his parents say he was cyberbullied on Snapchat. "His smile, sense of humor his presence every day it just feels like a giant hole."

The head of "Meta," Mark Zuckerberg, was put on the spot by a Missouri senator to apologize to the families in attendance.

Zuckerberg then got up and turned around to the crowd of parents holding up pictures of their kids who died of causes they say were related to social media.

He told the crowd, in part, "I'm sorry for everything you have all been through."

"He got up and it wasn’t a genuine apology," said Rose. "He said he was sorry for what survivor parents have been through but did not take any accountability for his platform causing these harms to our children."

He was one of five tech executives called to testify during the hearing set to address issues like the prevalence of child sexual abuse material on social platforms.

"What was really clear is that waiting for these companies to clean up act and police themselves is just not serious," said Rob. "Congress has to act, things absolutely need to be done. We are at a crisis point."

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled the leaders of Meta, TikTok, "X," and other companies about the negative impact social media is having on the well-being of young people.

"The Republicans will answer the call. All of us, everyone, one of us is ready to work with you and Democrat colleagues on this committee to prove to the American people that while Washington is certainly broken, there is a ray of hope, and it is here. It lies with your children. After years of working on this issue with you and others, I’ve come to the conclusion that the following social media companies, as they are currently designed and operate, are dangerous products," said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Bronstein has started a nonprofit in honor of her son, to help other children who are being cyberbullied. You can learn more HERE.