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Florida lawmakers approve a ban on children under 16 using social media.

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Legislators in Florida acted quickly to approve legislation that forbids children under 16 from using social media, which is a major step toward regulating how online platforms interact with kids.

The legislation is awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’ approval after passing both the state House and Senate. DeSantis has, meanwhile, indicated a cautious stance, stressing the necessity of striking a careful balance between parental engagement and governmental regulation when it comes to controlling kids’ use to social media.

DeSantis emphasized the need to enforce current laws, such as the federal mandate that forbids minors under 13 from using social media, citing worries about the effects of unfettered social media use on youngsters.

This legislative move is in line with DeSantis’s larger plan to keep an eye on and limit children’s media exposure, which also includes measures to censor curriculum and conversations in public schools.

Proponents of the proposed ban cite data from a 2023 Pew Research Survey showing that teens use social media widely, supporting their claim that tighter age verification procedures will improve young people’s online safety.

Key sponsor of the bill, state senator Erin Grall, emphasized the need to shield kids from negative online influences and charged social media companies of manipulating and putting minors in risk with their addictive features.

Both chambers overwhelmingly approved the law, demonstrating cross-party agreement for protecting children from the possible risks associated with social media use. Representatives from significant platforms, including Facebook and Instagram owner Meta and Snapchat and TikTok, have not yet provided feedback on the suggested changes.

The debate about the role of government vs parental responsibility in monitoring children’s online behavior is becoming more heated as Florida prepares to impose stronger controls on kids’ use to social media. These talks are taking place across the country.

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