Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Florida lawmakers pass ban on social media for kids under 16 despite constitutional concerns

By 37ci3 Feb23,2024


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A bill to create one of the nation’s most restrictive bans on minors’ use of social media will go to Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has expressed concerns about the law protecting children under the age of 16 from being popular. platforms regardless of parental permission.

The House passed the bill 108-7 on Thursday, hours after the Senate approved it by a 23-14 vote. The Senate made changes to the original House bill, which Speaker Paul Renner, a Republican, said he hoped would address DeSantis’ questions about privacy.

The bill targets any social media site that tracks user activity, allows children to upload material and communicate with others, and uses addictive features that lead to excessive or compulsive use. Proponents point to rising child suicide rates, cyberbullying and predators using social media to prey on children.

“We’re talking about businesses that use addictive properties to manipulate our children on a massive scale to harm them,” said Republican Erin Grall, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate.

Todd and Mia Minor of Accoquik hold a photo of their son, Matthew Minor, with the child as they attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with social media platform executives on Jan. 31, 2024, on Capitol Hill.  security.
Todd and Mia Minor of Accoquik hold a photo of their son, Matthew Minor, with the child as they attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with social media platform executives on Jan. 31, 2024, on Capitol Hill. security.Susan Walsh / AP Photo file

Other states have considered similar legislation, but most have not proposed a full ban. In Arkansas, a A federal judge blocked the proceedings law in August requiring parental consent for minors to create new social media accounts.

Supporters in Florida hope the bill will withstand legal challenges if it becomes law, as it would ban social media formats that rely on addictive features like notification alerts and auto-play videos rather than the content on their sites.

But opponents say it clearly violates the First Amendment and should be up to parents, not the government, to control children’s use of social media.

“It’s not 1850. Parents are coming to school board meetings to ban books, but their kids are watching really bad stuff on their iPads,” said Democratic state Sen. Jason Pizzo.

He quipped that MPs have other options if they want to parent other people’s children.

“Let’s pass a bill that encourages you to be busy with your kids, cook dinner, sit at the same table together, make eye contact, call grandma once in a while to see if she’s okay.” he said.

The legislation had a mix of Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue.

DeSantis said he understands the platforms can be harmful to teens, but stressed parents need to play a role in monitoring usage.

“We can’t say 100% of uses are bad because they are,” DeSantis said at an Orlando-area press conference before the bill was passed. “I don’t think it’s there yet, but I hope we can get there in a way that addresses the concerns of parents.”

But Renner, who has made the issue a top legislative priority, thinks the governor will approve the final product because it addresses concerns about user anonymity.

Some parents also have mixed feelings.

Angela Perry, a mother from Central Florida, said she understands the logic of the bill and that she and her husband did not allow their daughter to be on any major platforms until she was 15 years old. this decision due to the maturity of their children.

“What happened to parental rights?” Perry said. “You already choose the books my child can read at school. This is good to an extent. But now you are also entering their private life. It becomes an intervention.”

The Florida bill would require social media companies to shut down accounts they believe are being used by minors and terminate accounts at the request of minors or parents. Any account information should be deleted.



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By 37ci3

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