Florida To Ban Children Under 14 From Having Social Media Accounts In New Law

By maks in News On 30th March 2024
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Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, just put pen to paper on a bill that's about to bring some pretty tight rules into play for how young people interact with social media.

They're calling this new bill HB3, and it's all set to kick off starting January 2025.

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NBC News tells us that this law is all about stepping up the game in protecting kids online, especially when it comes to their social media habits.

One of the key features of this law is pretty straightforward: social media companies have to close the accounts of anyone under 14 years old.

Once this law is in action, if you're under 14, you won't be able to start an account on any social media platform.

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And if the companies don't stick to this rule, they could find themselves in hot water, facing lawsuits on behalf of any kid who manages to create an account on their platform.

A child who ends up setting up an account could get damages up to $10,000, and the companies? 

They're looking at fines that could hit $50,000 for each time they slip up, not to mention having to cover attorney fees and court costs.

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There's also this part where teens aged 14 to 16 need to show they've got the green light from their parents before they can create an account.

Lately, there's been a big push in the US to get a handle on how minors use social media.

Back in January, some big names from TikTok, Meta, and X found themselves under the microscope by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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They were grilled about not doing enough to keep kids safe on their platforms.

These committee members were speaking up for loads of parents across the country who find it tough to keep tabs on what their kids are doing online.

The thing is, too much social media and the wrong kind of content can really mess with a young person's mental health.

And having their accounts out in the open? That just makes it easier for predators to take advantage.

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Governor DeSantis is leading the charge in the US with this move, making Florida the first state to enforce such strict rules on kids' access to social media.

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This has been a big deal for DeSantis, a 45-year-old member of the Republican Party, who's been pushing for this kind of change for a while now.

Earlier in the month, he shot down a bill that was even more stringent, proposing a total ban on social media for anyone under 16 and requiring Floridians to provide ID or other identification to join social media sites.

At the time, he explained, "I have vetoed HB1 because the Legislature is about to produce a different, superior bill."

"Protecting children from harms associated with social media is important, as is supporting parents’ rights and maintaining the ability of adults to engage in anonymous speech."

"I anticipate the new bill will recognize these priorities and will be signed into law soon."

During the ceremony to sign HB3 into law, DeSantis shared, "Ultimately, [we’re] trying to help parents navigate this very difficult terrain that we have now with raising kids, and so I appreciate the work that’s been put in."

He also mentioned he sees the bill as "a fair application of the law and Constitution."

As expected, there's talk that Florida's new law might end up facing some legal pushback, with folks arguing it steps on the First Amendment.