Florida governor signs bill restricting children's social media access

HB 3 prohibits children under age of 14 from becoming social media account holders

14:28 - 26/03/2024 Tuesday
File photo
File photo

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday signed into law a highly debated bill aimed at restricting children's access to social media platforms.

The HB 3 prohibits children under the age of 14 from becoming social media account holders, and allows 14- and 15-year-olds to become account holders with parental consent.

“Social media harms children in a variety of ways,” said DeSantis in a statement released by his office. “HB 3 gives parents a greater ability to protect their children. Thank you to Speaker Renner for delivering this landmark legislation.”

“The internet has become a dark alley for our children where predators target them and dangerous social media leads to higher rates of depression, self-harm, and even suicide,” said House Speaker Paul Renner.

“I am proud of the work of all our bill sponsors, Representatives Tyler Sirois, Fiona McFarland, Michele Rayner, Chase Tramont, and Toby Overdorf for delivering a legislative framework that prioritizes keeping our children safe. Thanks to Governor DeSantis' signature, Florida leads the way in protecting children online as states across the country fight to address these dangers.”

Critics argue the bill is unconstitutional, courts have blocked similar legislation in other states and that it could face legal challenges from the tech industry.

The legislation also protects the ability of Floridians to remain anonymous online, and requires pornographic or sexually explicit websites to use age verification to prevent minors from accessing sites that are inappropriate for children, according to the governor's office.

The state's legislature had passed a bill in February that would have banned children under 16 from social media entirely. DeSantis vetoed that bill, raising concerns on infringement of parental rights. This amended version will take effect on Jan. 1, 2025.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

#HB 3
#social media
3 months ago