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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill that aims to restrict the use of social networks by minors. The new law prohibits children under 14 from having social media accounts and requires adolescents between 14 and 15 to obtain parental authorization before creating an account. This measure is part of DeSantis’ effort to help parents navigate the challenges of raising children in the digital age.

The law also mandates technology companies to delete accounts of children under 14 on social media apps and establish age verification mechanisms on websites with adult content. While most platforms require users to be at least 13 years old to create an account, little is done to enforce this rule. The measure, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2025, is the top legislative priority of state assembly leader Paul Renner.

Renner emphasized the need for the law by stating that social media platforms are where most crimes against children occur and that they have a detrimental effect on the mental well-being of young people. However, this watered-down version of a previous measure that focused on children under 16 was vetoed by DeSantis before an agreement was reached on the wording. Despite support from Florida lawmakers, challenges are expected from social media companies and legal battles may arise due to concerns related to freedom of expression. Supporters believe that banning certain features of social media platforms like automatic notifications and addictive features will benefit children’s mental health. Several other states are considering similar measures to regulate social media use by minors.

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