• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Florida passes law to ban social media for minors

florida bans social media (1)

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida has signed a bill that bans children under the age of 14 from accessing social media over concerns about its negative effects on teens and minors in the US.

The bill (HB 3) signed Monday will go into effect on January 1, 2025, and will restrict children below 14 from having social media accounts, and require 14 to 15 year olds to obtain parental permission and supervision to use them.

This event comes barely two weeks after US lawmakers passed a bill to ban TikTok in the US.

According to DeSantis, the bill will help parents censor and monitor their children’s online activities and protect them from predators.

“One of the things I know a lot of parents have had concern about is the role the internet and social media play in the upbringing of young kids,” DeSantis said during the bill-passing ceremony at Jackson School.

“It used to be that if they were out somewhere, maybe not being supervised, some predator can strike. Now with things like social media, you can have a kid in the house safe seemingly and predators can get in. You may be doing everything right, but they know how to manipulate these different platforms. It’s created a huge problem,” he said.

Ultimately, [we’re] trying to help parents navigate this difficult terrain that we have with raising kids.”

Last year, Florida passed a bill that restricted students from using cellphones during classes to support teachers and ensure classroom discipline. DeSantis said its success despite opposition is good ground to build on.

But the government expects opposition to their new bill. Social media companies who learned of the bill earlier this year had threatened to sue if it was passed.

The signed bill requires them to delete the existing accounts of those who are under 14 or be fined. Paul Renner, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives has assured that the government is poised to counter a resistance.

“We’re going to beat them. We’re going to beat them and we’re never, ever going to stop,” Renner said

Companies that fail to close accounts of minors face a $10,000 sue for damages, awarded to the child, and could be charged up to $50,000 per violation, including attorney’s fees and court costs.

The decision was also contested by the opposition party, as some democrats say it trumps on citizens human rights.

“This bill goes too far in taking away parents’ rights,” Anna Eskamani, the Democratic state house representative said in a news release.

“Instead of banning social media access, it would be better to ensure improved parental oversight tools, improved access to data to stop bad actors, alongside major investments in Florida’s mental health systems and programs.”