Florida Passes Bill Banning Children Under 16 from Social Media

(AmericanProsperity.com) – The Florida House passed a bill on Wednesday that bans children from creating social media accounts on all platforms, even if they have parental approval. The reasoning for this, according to the statements, is to keep children under 16 from being “hooked” on social media.

The House Bill 1 was passed with a 106-13 vote and supporters argued that social media can lead to more bullying and puts kids in danger of sexual predators, all leading to depression, addiction, or suicide.

According to Fox News, Tyler Sirois, a Republican Representative, said, “They’re taking advantage of kids growing up. That’s their business model. And why do they do it? To keep them hooked … with the dopamine hits that the platform gives our children with every autoplay, with every like, with every push notification.”

It will not affect apps that are focused on private messaging, but it will target platforms that let people upload their own media, track people’s activities, and use various addictive features. The bill didn’t provide a specific list of platforms. They also said that the bill would withstand scrutiny because it focuses on addictive features rather than the content being shared.

The Republican House Speaker, Paul Renner, expressed the need for this bill. He has made it his priority to address the effects of social media addiction on children, and said, “It’s a situation where kids can’t stay off the platforms, and as a result of that, they have been trapped in an environment that harms their mental health.”

“We must address the harmful effects social media platforms have on the development and well-being of our kids. Florida has a compelling state interest and duty to protect our children, their mental health, and their childhood,” he said on X.

Those who opposed the bill stated that it ignored some of the possible benefits social media has for children, that it went against the First Amendment, and that parents should have the right to decide.

Some opponents said that they felt the intention of the bill was right and that there is concern for young people being on social media, but that the solution they brought on was too broad.

Meta spoke out about the bill as well and asked the House to consider requiring parental approval instead of a full ban on the apps and that they would like the issue to be brought to the federal level in order to “avoid a variety of state laws on this bill.”

Caulder Harvill-Childs, a Meta representative, wrote to the House committee, “Many teens today leverage the internet and apps to responsibly gather information and learn about new opportunities, including part-time jobs, higher education, civic or church gatherings, and military service.”

As the bill has moved forward, it will now be seen by the Senate as they vote on a decision.

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