DeSantis Signs Bill Restricting Teen Social Media Use

Florida legislators have succeeded in their efforts to keep minors away from social media.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a controversial bill on Monday that imposes strict limits on social media use by minors. House Bill 3, which received bipartisan support from lawmakers, bans kids under 13 from creating accounts on major social platforms. Those aged 14 and 15 will require parental consent.

The legislation also prohibits all minors from accessing adult websites without age verification measures like submitting government IDs or facial scans. It targets sites with “addictive features” like infinite scrolling and push notifications, where at least 10% of users are under 16 and spend over two hours per day on the platform.

Florida is among several states, including California and Arkansas, enacting such restrictions amid rising rates of teen depression and suicide, which some studies have linked to social media use. 

However, none of these state laws have taken effect yet due to legal challenges from tech giants like Meta and TikTok, who argue the bans violate free speech rights.

The Florida law is slated to take effect on January 1, 2025, but is widely expected to face similar lawsuits. House Speaker Paul Renner, who prioritized the bill, vowed to defeat NetChoice, a tech industry group that plans to sue over the “unconstitutional law.”

While acknowledging social media’s benefits for teens, DeSantis cited concerns over its negative impacts as a parent himself. He noted lawmakers previously banned instructional-time cellphone use in schools last year.

Free speech advocates like PEN America have condemned the measure as government overreach violating the First Amendment. But lawmakers argue protecting children justifies the restrictions, with Renner accusing platforms of “digital trafficking” of kids.

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