Florida clears law that bans social media usage for children under 14 years of age

Florida: Florida has cleared the law that bans children aged under 14 from social media platforms and requires 14- and 15-year-olds to get parental consent. The Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis on Monday signed the bill as it is believed that this will protect them from online risks to the kids’ mental health.

According to official reports, the measure requires social media platforms to terminate the accounts of people under 14. Additionally, it measure requires social media platforms to terminate the accounts of people under 16 who do not have parental consent.

It is worth mentioning here that the state’s Republican-led legislature passed a bill in February that would have banned children under 16 from social media entirely. The recently amended version allows for parents to provide consent for older children to engage on social media platforms. It will become law on Jan. 1, 2025.

Speaking about this new law, Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement, “Social media harms children in a variety of ways. So, this bill gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.”

Notably, the bill does not name any specific social media platforms, but states that its targets are social media sites that promote “infinite scrolling,” display reaction metrics such as likes, feature auto-play videos and have live-streaming and push notifications.

Following the clearing of the law, Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, opposed the legislation, saying it would limit parental discretion and raise data privacy concerns because of the personal information users would have to provide to be age-verified. The social media giant further said that it supports federal legislation, opens new tab for online app stores to secure parental approval for downloads by children.

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