Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Law Restricting Social Media For Kids Under 16

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a new bill which intends to force social media platforms to end the accounts of users below the age of 14, or users under 16 who do not have parental consent. It also requires the platform to use verifiable third-party apps to filter out users who are underage. The measure has been in demand for some time now and is meant to shelter underage users from the online risks to their mental health.

New Florida Law Requires Parental Consent for Social Media Users Under 16

The Republican-dominated state legislature had earlier also passed a bill in February 2024, which sought to limit users below the age of 16 years from social media platforms entirely. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had vetoed the bill, opining that the bill limited parents’ rights. The bill was again presented with some amendments and now requires parental consent for participating in social media for kids aged 15 and 16 years.

DeSantis said in a statement, “Social media harms children in a variety of ways, and the legislation gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.”

While the supporters of the legislation have hailed the bill and said that the bill will help prevent mental problems like anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses precipitated by the excessive participation on social media platforms by underage users.

However, there is no paucity of critics who label the bill as a contravention of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections for free speech. They also contend that it is the parents’ decision to allow or forbid their wards from participation on social media platforms and not the Government who should make decisions about the online presence of their children of all ages.

The bill has been opposed by Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook. The measure will also put at risk much personal information which will be sought for age verification. It will also limit parent discretion. Meta, however, said that it supports federal legislation for online app stores to require parental approval for downloads by children.

The bill has not named any social media platform in particular but does specify that it is targeting sites which support infinite scrolling and also features likes, subscriptions, autoplay functions, live streaming, and push notifications. The bill will also not target apps whose main function is email, texting, and messaging between a particular sender and recipient.

Also Read: FDA Settles Lawsuit over Ivermectin Social Media Posts With Doctors

Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

Related Articles