Florida Passes Landmark Bill: Restricting Social Media Access For Minors Under 16

Aiexpress – The Florida House approved a bill on Wednesday that prohibits children under 16 from accessing popular social media platforms, even with parental consent. The bill, which is the House speaker’s main focus, seeks to tackle the addictive qualities of these platforms and the potential risks they pose to young individuals.

The bill does not specifically mention which platforms would be affected, but it focuses on social media sites that engage in user tracking, allow children to upload content and interact with others, and employ features that encourage excessive or addictive usage. However, the bill excludes apps used for private messaging between individuals. Republican Rep. Tyler Sirois, the bill’s sponsor, emphasized the exploitative nature of social media platforms, stating, “They take advantage of children as they grow up. That’s how they operate their business. And why do they do it? To keep them addicted… with each autoplay, like, and push notification, the platform gives our children a dopamine rush.”

The bill garnered overwhelming bipartisan support, securing a vote of 106-13. Advocates assert that social media exposes children to bullying and sexual predators while also contributing to depression, suicide, and addictive behaviors, as reported by WREG. Democratic Representative Michele Rayner shared her own encounter with online abuse, reading out hateful comments she had received on social media during the House floor session. She underscored the profound impact of cyberbullying on young children, stating, “Consider the challenges our children face when they encounter the same cyberbullying from their peers at school.”

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms, has urged the House to explore alternative solutions in addressing concerns related to app downloads. One such solution proposed by Meta is to require parental approval for app downloads, emphasizing the importance of parental involvement in ensuring safe digital experiences for children. Additionally, Meta has advocated for federal regulation as a more cohesive and comprehensive approach, as opposed to a fragmented system of state laws. By calling for these alternative measures, Meta aims to address the challenges associated with online safety and protect users across different platforms.

While some states have toyed with the idea of enacting comparable legislation, the majority have refrained from proposing a total prohibition. A federal judge in Arkansas, for instance, intervened to prevent the implementation of a law that mandated parental consent for minors seeking to establish new social media profiles.


Republican House Speaker Paul Renner argues that the bill he supports will pass constitutional scrutiny because it focuses on addressing the addictive aspects of social media, rather than regulating content. Renner emphasizes that the goal is to protect the mental health of children who are unable to disengage from these platforms. He states, “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.”

If the Florida bill is approved, social media companies will be obligated to deactivate accounts that are suspected to be used by minors and to terminate accounts upon the request of a minor or their parents. Furthermore, all data associated with the account must be erased.

Opponents of the bill claim that it violates the First Amendment rights of children and deprives them of the advantages that social media can offer. They argue that it should be the responsibility of parents to make decisions regarding their children’s online activities. Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani shared her own experience, emphasizing how social media provided her with support and solace after the loss of her mother at the age of 13. While she recognizes the concerns surrounding the influence of social media on young individuals, she has reservations about the extensive reach of the proposed solution and the unintended repercussions it may have.

“I think the intention of those who have filed (the bill) is absolutely golden. We have a concern about the impact of social media on our young people. I just find the solution that you propose too broad and casts a wide a net with unintended consequences.”

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