Gov. DeSantis Seeks Changes to Social Media Age Limit Bill

Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing for changes to a social media bill that has recently passed the legislature. The bill, known as HB 1, prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from having a social media account on platforms with certain addictive features. DeSantis believes that parents should have a say in decisions regarding their children’s social media usage and is advocating for an opt-in clause for parents.

DeSantis Advocates for Parental Opt-In

Governor DeSantis has publicly stated that he believes parents should be involved in their children’s decisions, particularly those related to social media. While he supports tighter enforcement on age verification, he also wants to allow parents to opt-in when it comes to their children having social media accounts. DeSantis stated, “On the one hand, federal law says 13 and under can’t have social media accounts. That’s not really enforced. If it’s the law, it should be enforced,” and further added that he believes social media can have a negative impact on children but also acknowledged that parental supervision could mitigate some of these risks.

Pushback from Lawmakers

Despite DeSantis’ stance, some lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the idea of parental opt-in. Tyler Sirois, a Republican representative, suggested that parental permission for platforms was a non-starter with lawmakers. He stated, “If you accept these addictive features are causing our children harm, parental consent is not an option.” This viewpoint suggests a hardline stance against allowing any underage use of social media platforms known to have addictive features.

Changes to the Bill

Several changes have been made to the bill, with the Senate clarifying that the outright ban only applies to platforms proven to be addictive for children. Senator Erin Grall also added language stating that the ban would apply to any platform where at least 10% of young users spend a minimum of two hours a day online. Grall compared the addictive qualities of certain social media platforms to that of tobacco products, arguing that it is society’s responsibility to protect children from such harmful behavior.

In conclusion, the debate around the social media bill highlights the ongoing tension between protecting children from potential harm and respecting parental rights. While Governor DeSantis continues to advocate for an opt-in clause for parents, lawmakers remain staunch in their stance against any underage use of addictive social media platforms. As the bill awaits the Governor’s signature, it remains to be seen if any further changes will be made.

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