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IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL? Florida's new Social Media Use for Minors bill has people conflicted

IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL? Florida's new social media for minors bill has some questioning its legitimacy
Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 22:31:04-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The impact of social media on young people has reached the point where the Florida legislature is deciding on a new House Bill, HB 1, that could restrict minors under the age of 16 from social media use.

However, many question whether or not this is constitutional.

"This is how kids feel connected with one another and how they communicate nowadays," said Victoria Baker, a local mental health counselor for children. "It's a big part of social life for teens."

The bill is called "Social Media Use for Minors" and states, "Requiring social media platforms to prohibit certain minors from creating new accounts, to terminate certain accounts and provide additional options for termination of such accounts, to use reasonable age verification methods to verify the ages of account holders."

Some in the state's Republican Party, like Yvette Benarroch who is a current Florida House Candidate and President of the Collier County Mom's For Liberty chapter, are in support of this bill and the tools she believes it will bring parents today.

"As a mom, I'm happy to see and I will always support bills that empower parents when it comes to oversight in regards to the safety of our children, especially in the technology field that most of us don't know the dangers completely," said Benarroch.

House Bill 1 specifically targets apps like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

Baker says she has seen an increase in mental health issues among her patients.

"Kids are so aware of what's going on and I think that treating them like an adult in a lot of ways can provide them a sense of safety and security," said Baker.

A subcommittee passed the bill 13-1 but still many question if this is an infringement on First Amendment rights.

"I think it's a balanced bill," said Benarroch "I think it gives us the opportunity, not only to make sure that our children are safe online, giving us the tools to guidelines, but also holding those responsible accountable."

As of January 12, the bill awaits approval from the Judiciary Committee.