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This US state is prohibiting children from using social media. This Is Why

<p>A measure to prohibit minors under the age of 16 from using social networking sites was adopted by the Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday. This move follows other states that have taken similar steps to reduce the hazards that young teens face while using the internet.</p>
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<p>The bipartisan proposal, which was approved 106 to 13, mandates that social media companies delete the accounts of users who are younger than 17 and use a third-party verification method to filter out those who are younger.</p>
<p>Speaker of the Florida House Paul Renner said, “We must address the harmful effects social media platforms have on the development and well-being of our kids.”</p>
<p>“Florida has a strong state interest and obligation to safeguard our children’s childhood, mental health, and wellbeing.”</p>
<p>The measure would also let parents to file legal lawsuits against companies that fail to permanently erase the personal data they obtained from the closed accounts.</p>
<p>The Florida state Senate will now review the measure. The state legislature’s two houses are dominated by Republicans.</p>
<p>Sponsors said the action was required to shield kids from mental health problems including anxiety, depression, and other issues related to excessive use of social media, which is particularly dangerous for kids because of its addictive qualities.</p>
<p>Some suggested less restrictive options, such letting parents choose whether or not to allow their children to use social media, in response to the bill’s opponents’ claims that it goes too far.</p>
<p>The measure, also known as HB1, was opposed by Meta, the parent corporation of Facebook and Instagram, citing worries about data privacy and limiting parental choice.</p>
<p>At a hearing on January 17, Meta’s Caulder Childs informed the House Judiciary Committee that “HB 1 would require each new social media user, from a 13-year-old in Miami to a 73-year-old from Boca Raton, to provide possibly sensitive identifying information, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate to a third-party organization to verify their age.”</p>
<p>Meta says it backs government laws requiring internet app shops to get parental consent before allowing kids under the age of sixteen to download content.</p>
<p>No specific internet corporations are mentioned by name in the Florida proposal.</p>
<p>Rather, it characterizes a social media platform as an online community that allows users to establish user profiles, publish material, browse the content and activities of other users, and engage in interactions or activity tracking.</p>
<p>“Addictive, harmful or deceptive design features” or those that create “an excessive or compulsive need to use or engage with” the platform are among the defining purposes of social media that the law highlights.</p>
<p>However, the policy does not apply to websites and apps that are primarily used for email, messaging, or texting; it also does not apply to streaming services, news, sports, entertainment, online gaming, online shopping, and academic websites.</p>
<p>According to a legislative study created for the Florida bill, Utah became the first state in the US to enact legislation restricting children’s access to social media in March 2023. Other states that followed included Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas.</p>
<p>It said that several other states were considering enacting laws along these lines.</p>
<p>The report also said that in order for a kid to use social media, parental approval was required by legislation in 2015, which was enacted by the European Union.</p>