Florida Bans Social Media for Children Under 14: Impact and Implications

Florida, USA, has implemented a new law prohibiting children under the age of 14 from using social media. Governor Ron DeSantis has signed off on this legislation, which is set to take effect from 2025 onwards, as reported by Sky News.

Under this law, youngsters aged 14 to 15 can only access Instagram and Snapchat with written permission from their parents or legal guardians. Furthermore, companies are required to delete social media accounts belonging to children under 14 years old.

According to the law, social media platforms are required to verify the age of users before activating their accounts. Failure to delete social media accounts belonging to children under 14 years old may result in a penalty of $10,000 payable to the affected child. Additionally, the company can face fines of up to $50,000.

The law will be enforced by Florida’s state government starting in January of the following year. However, legal analysts anticipate potential challenges to certain provisions of the law, citing potential violations of the US Constitution, which could lead to legal challenges in the Supreme Court.

Republican Senator Paul Reiner of Florida expressed his satisfaction with the passing of the bill, stating that it has been a long-time aspiration of his. He emphasized the critical importance of protecting children’s developing brains from becoming addicted to harmful influences during their formative years.

The bill includes clear provisions outlining the factors that influence children’s minds and the potential harm they can cause. Companies failing to comply with the law will not only face fines and compensation but also be liable for the legal costs associated with court proceedings, including attorney fees.

Reiner acknowledged the likelihood of social media companies challenging the law in higher courts but affirmed the determination of lawmakers to see the legislation through. He emphasized their commitment to ensuring the bill’s effectiveness and safeguarding children’s well-being.

Governor DeSantis entered the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination but faced challenges garnering support from delegates, ultimately trailing behind former President Donald Trump. Consequently, he withdrew his candidacy.

Expressing his ongoing support for the bill, DeSantis highlighted the collective achievement in passing the legislation and emphasized the importance of its implementation. Despite anticipating challenges ahead, he remained optimistic about overcoming them.

NetChoice, a trade group responsible for developing policies for various social media platforms including Facebook, Meta, TikTok, and others, criticized the law, stating the need for separate identity policies for the internet, including age considerations. They argued against the validity of the law.

An alarming trend of excessive social media usage among youth in India has been identified through a national survey. The study revealed that six out of ten young people aged 9 to 17 spend over three hours daily on social media or gaming platforms. Prolonged exposure to social media has been linked to increased risks of mental health issues like depression and anxiety among children. Furthermore, extended usage resulted in behavioral changes such as aggression, impatience, and hyperactivity. Physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, and anxiety were also reported by children due to excessive screen time. The survey, conducted by the community-based social media platform LocalCircle in 2023, sheds light on the concerning impact of unrestricted digital consumption on youth well-being.

Arvind Amble

My name is Arvind Amble. As a tech enthusiast and writer, I'm fascinated by the ever-evolving world of technology, AI, IOS, Android, Software & Apps, and Digital Marketing. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a passion for innovation, I bring a fresh perspective to my writing, blending technical expertise with a creative flair.