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Florida Protects Kids with ‘Most Restrictive Social Media Ban’ in U.S.

Photo from Aman Pal via Unsplash

Florida Protects Kids with ‘Most Restrictive Social Media Ban’ in U.S.

By Movieguide® Contributor

Florida just passed a law that bans children under 13 from creating accounts on social media.

“It’s not designed to address the content per se, which may receive certain First Amendment protections, but it’s designed to address the addictive qualities, the addictive features of social media,” said Melissa Henson, Vice President of Programs for Parents Television and Media Council.

Movieguide® reported on the law in January:

Florida lawmakers have introduced a bill that would restrict access to social media for anyone younger than 16 to help protect children from the dangers of the platforms.

The bill would require social media sites to verify a user’s age and ban anyone under the age of 16 from creating or running an account.

“We’ve got to think about kids,” said Florida House Speaker Paul Renner. “We tell them they…can’t smoke until they’re 18, they can’t get tattoos or earrings without their parents’ consent, all of these things. But and 8-year-old kid can get online and see pornography…That doesn’t make sense. How do we let [that] happen?”

The law, called “HB 3,” bans children under 13 and requires parental consent for 14 and 15-year-olds who wish to make accounts. It also requires pornography sites to use age verification methods for their users. The law will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2025.

CBS calls the bill “one of the most restrictive social media laws in the country.”

“A child in their brain development doesn’t have the ability to know that they’re being sucked into these addictive technologies,” said Florida House Speaker Paul Renner.

“You can have a kid in the house seemingly safe, and then you have predators that can get right in there into your own home. You could be doing everything right but they know how to get and manipulate these different platforms,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday.

Other comments by DeSantis indicate that he believes parents should have better ways to protect their children, and this bill will help that.

“It’s an important first step, and if nothing else, a warning shot to these media companies that they need to clean up their act,” Henson told CBS.

Ohio and Arkansas tried to push similar laws. However, federal judges did not pass them.

Last fall, “a federal judge in California has halted a law in that state that would require certain social networks and video game apps to turn on the highest privacy settings by default for minors and turn off by default certain features, like auto-playing videos, for those users,” the New York Times said.

Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, shared why he thinks California killed the bill.

“They are basically trying to keep a golden fence around tech companies in spite of evidence that proves that their products are deeply harming children,” he said. “It is absolutely shameful and disgusting what they’re doing.”

Hensen stated what states need to do going forward: “Let’s have different states try different proposals and see which ones (are) most effective, and once we figure out which solutions are getting to the heart of the problem, and most efficiently, then that can become the model legislation to be adopted in other states.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.