Florida passes restrictive law to ban children from social media

Florida passes restrictive law to ban children from social media

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law to effectively ban young children from social media.

The restrictive measure for minors has been introduced as a response to the growing concerns over the negative influence of various apps on young people in the United States.

Under the new legislation to be introduced on 1 January 2025, Florida will prohibit children aged 13 and under from having access to social media, whilst 14 and 15-year-olds will require parental consent to be online.

Speaking on Monday (25 March), Governor DeSantis explained his administration is merely “trying to help parents navigate this very difficult terrain that we have now with raising kids.” 

Republican Speaker Paul Renner viewed this issue as a top legislative priority and he was delighted with the outcome, stating “A child in their brain development doesn’t have the ability to know that they’re being sucked into these addictive technologies and to see the harm and step away from it, and because of that we have to step in for them,” 

The bill comes at a time when another social media battle is capturing many headlines with the proposed ban on Chinese-owned TikTok in the United States after federal lawmakers gave their approval. 

There is a significant push underway to resist moves to curb the crackdown on TikTok and similar moves are in the offing to introduce a challenge in Florida.

Expected challenge against the social media legislation

Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani believes the new law “goes too far in taking away parents’ rights”, adding “Instead of banning social media access, it would be better to ensure improved parental oversight tools and improved access to data to stop bad actors — alongside major investments in Florida’s mental health systems and programs.”

Claims have also been made about restricting freedoms and preventing Americans from accessing information online. 

Khara Boender, a state policy director for the Computer & Communications Industry Association, said in a press release that she understands some of the rationale for online safety but expressed doubts on how effective the legislation will “meaningfully achieve those goals without infringing on the First Amendment rights of younger users,” with the anticipation of a robust legal challenge to follow.

Image credit: Photo by Ashley Satanosky on Unsplash

The post “Florida passes restrictive law to ban children from social media” by Graeme Hanna was published on 03/26/2024 by readwrite.com