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Florida Tightens Social Media Regulations, DeSantis Signs Bill Limiting Access For Children Under 14


Florida Tightens Social Media Regulations, DeSantis Signs Bill Limiting Access For Children Under 14

Florida enacted new social media regulations on Monday, becoming the first state to effectively prohibit residents under 14 from holding accounts on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. The law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis imposes restrictions to insulate young people from potential risks on social media.

According to The New York Times reporting, the statute prohibits certain social networks from providing accounts to children under 14 and requires platforms to terminate any existing underage accounts they are aware of. It also mandates that platforms obtain parental permission before granting access to 14- and 15-year-olds.

At a press conference, DeSantis hailed the measure as helping parents navigate “difficult terrain” online, stating that “being buried in devices all day long” is not ideal for child development. “Social media harms children in a variety of ways,” DeSantis said, adding the new law “gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.”

DeSantis previously vetoed a bill banning accounts for 14- and 15-year-olds even with parental consent, calling it an impingement on parents’ rights over their children’s online activities. The new law is expected to face constitutional challenges over young people’s free speech rights and companies’ ability to distribute information.

Federal judges have recently halted less-restrictive age verification laws in states like Ohio, Arkansas, and California after lawsuits from tech industry groups like NetChoice, which represents Meta, Snap, and TikTok. Judges found these laws violated free speech protections.

In addition to the social media age limits, Florida’s new statute requires online pornography platforms to implement age verification systems to prevent minors from accessing explicit content.

Major apps like Facebook and Instagram already prohibit users under 13, which complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act’s parental consent requirements. However, regulators say millions of underage kids circumvent these rules by providing false birthdays when signing up.

The new Florida law significantly tightens children’s access to widespread social media platforms. The public will closely monitor its implementation and any legal challenges will be as debate continues nationwide about protecting youth online while preserving digital free speech.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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