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Florida Restricts Social Media for Kids Under 14

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that restricts children under 14 from having social-media accounts, and also requires children aged 14 and 15 to obtain parent permission to hold accounts on certain social media platforms.

The bill (House Bill 3) was passed by lawmakers this month and seeks to stop children under age 16 from opening social-media accounts on certain platforms.

The Florida law requires parental consent for children aged 14 and 15 to have accounts at companies such as Meta Platforms and TikTok, but children under 14 could not open accounts.

House Speaker Paul Renner and other key supporters argue that social-media companies have created platforms which are addictive and can harm children’s mental health. Concern was also voiced on the spread of sexually explicitly content and sexual predators communicating with minors.

However, critics, including tech-industry groups, argue the bill is unconstitutional and point to courts blocking similar legislation in other states.

For example, Arkansas and Ohio, have enacted laws requiring minors to secure parental approval for social media accounts but have faced legal challenges, as has children’s digital privacy law in California.

Tech industry group Netchoice, which includes Meta, TikTok and Google, this month urged DeSantis to veto the bill, saying it would violate First Amendment rights.

In addition to parental-consent requirements for 14- and 15-year-olds, the Florida law has ordered an age-verified ban on social media to 13-year-olds. While there has been considerations by Congress to raise the age of those restrictions to users under the age of 17, the legislation has not yet advanced.

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