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Kids under 14 will not be able to use Snapchat, Instagram | Check Details

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- March 27th 2024 10:43 AM
Kids under 14 will not be able to use Snapchat, Instagram | Check Details

Kids under 14 will not be able to use Snapchat, Instagram | Check Details

PTC Web Desk: Florida has taken a bold step by enacting one of the country's most restrictive social media laws for minors, sparking debates over online safety, parental rights, and First Amendment concerns. Signed into law by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, the legislation aims to regulate children's access to social media platforms, but it has already faced criticism and is expected to face legal challenges.

The New Law

The new law, which is set to take effect from January 1 next year, imposes stringent regulations on social media usage by minors. Children under the age of 14 will be prohibited from joining social media platforms altogether, with social media firms mandated to delete the accounts of underage users. Additionally, children aged 14 and 15 will require parental consent before signing up for platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

The legislation, spearheaded by Republican Speaker Paul Renner, reflects concerns about the potentially harmful effects of social media on young minds. Renner said children lacked the cognitive ability to recognise the addictive nature of these technologies and the potential harm they can cause. The Bill's supporters argue that such regulations are necessary to protect minors from the negative impacts of excessive social media use.

fb and insta

Controversy and Expected Legal Challenges

However, the law has already drawn significant controversy and is expected to face legal challenges on several fronts. Critics argue that it infringes on First Amendment rights and parental autonomy. They contend that parents should have the freedom to make decisions regarding their children's social media usage without government interference.

Opponents also question the effectiveness of the legislation in achieving its intended goals without unduly restricting young people's access to online information. Khara Boender, a state policy director for the Computer & Communications Industry Association, expressed doubts about the law's ability to meaningfully enhance online safety without impinging on constitutional rights.

Governor DeSantis acknowledged the anticipated legal challenges, but expressed confidence in the law's constitutionality. He emphasized the importance of balancing online safety with respect for individual freedoms, stating that any legislation he deems unconstitutional will be vetoed.

Comparison with Previous Proposals

The enacted law represents a compromise from an earlier proposal that DeSantis vetoed. The initial Bill would have banned minors under 16 from popular social media platforms without exception, regardless of parental consent. The revised version, which garnered support from the governor, imposes age restrictions while allowing parental consent for older minors.

Supporters of the legislation hope that its focus on prohibiting social media formats based on addictive features, rather than content, will enhance its chances of withstanding legal scrutiny. They believe that targeting addictive features such as notification alerts and auto-play videos addresses concerns about online safety without unduly restricting free speech.




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