Florida Passes Law Restricting Teen Social Media Access

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation prohibiting social media access for youngsters under the age of 16, as concerns about the platforms’ impact on teenagers grow in the United States.

Those 13 and under will be unable to register a social media account in the state, while 14 and 15-year-olds will require parental authorization to use such sites.

Despite concerns about social media, the bill has also generated free speech concerns, and it comes at a time when right-wing state governments have pushed contentious “parental rights” legislation, particularly in education.

According to DeSantis, lawmakers are “trying to help parents navigate this very difficult terrain that we now have with raising kids.”

Speaker of the Florida House Paul Renner stated that social media poses hazards from traffickers and paedophiles, and that “social media platforms have caused a devastating effect on the mental well-being of our children.”

Most sites require users to be 13 or older, but they do nothing to enforce this.

Concerns regarding social media’s impact on child and adolescent development and learning have grown across the country.

However, the rule has raised worries among those who believe it sets a precedent for curbing free speech online.

DeSantis, who ran unsuccessfully for president and pulled out in January, has repeatedly stated that parents should have more say over issues impacting their children, particularly in education.

Parental rights legislation in Florida and other states has pushed to give parents more say in sensitive areas, namely LGBTQ instruction in schools.

While the social media ban provides parents control over the situation, some argue that the government should keep out of such fights entirely.

DeSantis previously vetoed a tougher social media restriction that would have denied access to individuals under the age of 16.

He stated at the time that a greater balance was needed between competing parental rights, privacy issues, and free expression.

Leave a Reply