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Social Media Prohibited For Children Under 14 

Social Media Prohibited For Children Under 14 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed into law a measure prohibiting children under the age of 14 from having social media accounts without parental permission. This report analyzes the key aspects of the law, its implications, and the potential challenges it may face.

The law, set to take effect on January 1, 2025, requires parental consent for minors aged 14 and 15 to sign up for personal social media accounts. Governor DeSantis cited concerns about potential harm to children's mental health and privacy as reasons for supporting the bill.

Parental Rights vs. Free Speech: Supporters argue that the law protects children from online threats, but critics raise concerns about its potential violation of the First Amendment's protection of free speech. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, opposed the legislation, echoing concerns about parental rights versus government intervention.

Legislative Evolution: The final version of the law is a compromise compared to the initial proposal, which sought to ban social media use for children under 16 entirely. Governor DeSantis vetoed the first version, emphasizing the importance of parental rights.

Legal Challenges Expected: Experts anticipate legal challenges to the law, similar to those faced by other states that have enacted similar measures. Arkansas, for example, had its law blocking social media use for minors struck down as likely unconstitutional.

Enforcement and Accountability: The law requires social media companies to permanently delete personal information collected from closed accounts and allows parents to bring civil lawsuits against services failing to comply. This reflects an emphasis on accountability and protection of children's privacy.

Broader Policy Landscape: Florida's legislation aligns with a broader trend among U.S. states considering measures to regulate children's social media use. States like Utah, Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas have all explored similar legislation, indicating a growing concern about the impact of social media on minors.

Florida's law represents a significant attempt to address concerns about children's exposure to potential online harms. While it aims to empower parents and protect minors, questions remain about its compatibility with free speech rights and its enforceability. As the law's implementation approaches, it will likely face scrutiny and legal challenges, shaping the broader policy landscape surrounding children's internet usage.

   


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