Governor Ron Desantis Bans Individuals Under The Age Of 14 From Using Social Media

(NationalUSNews.com) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently approved a controversial social media law that bans anyone under the age of 14 from social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, causing intense criticism from Florida residents. The bill, known as House Bill 3, intensely monitors social media usage by minors and prohibits younger children from accessing social media websites. DeSantis claimed the bill allows parents to restrict their children’s social media intake, increasing their safety, but some voters aren’t convinced.

When explaining his reasoning for supporting the bill, DeSantis said that social media has a variety of harmful effects on children who use platforms like Instagram. DeSantis’s social media law will become active on the first day of 2025 and doesn’t outright ban social media for teenagers below 16 years of age. The bill instead prohibits teens under 14 from using any social media platforms, and teens aged 14–15 can use social media with their parent’s approval. Once a teenager reaches 16, the new Florida law permits social media use without parental consent.

According to DeSantis, the new law establishes additional age confirmations and uses user data to prevent younger users from making social media accounts. DeSantis clarified that online users could remain anonymous despite the added security for social media apps, and the bill won’t limit Florida residents who reach the required age from using various social media services. DeSantis also claims that the legislation protects children from online predators, making it harder for potentially dangerous individuals to contact younger children through various websites.

Although DeSantis championed the social media legislation, other Florida lawmakers seemingly support the restrictive bill. Among DeSantis’s supporters is Paul Renner, Florida’s Speaker of the House, who shared DeSantis’s view on the potential dangers posed to children by the internet. Renner said that social media platforms are harmful to children and even contribute to minors committing suicide. Renner supported the new law in a public statement, where he claimed the social media restriction would reduce depression and suicide rates among younger Florida citizens.

Despite support from DeSantis and Florida lawmakers like Renner, the new law could face legal lawsuits due to its restrictions on minor’s constitutional rights. Various First Amendment advocacy groups claim that Florida’s legislators are violating the constitution by restricting free speech, with one advocacy group, PEN America, arguing against DeSantis’s promise of increased security. According to PEN America’s Florida subsection, the bill restricts access to social media without increasing safety for young children. PEN America Director Katie Blankenship also addressed the law in a statement and said that the new law wouldn’t survive legal challenges due to its broad restriction of the First Amendment.

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