Politics

Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation Aimed to Protect Minors from ‘Danger’ of Social Media

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed legislation aimed at addressing mounting concerns over minors and the addictive influence social media has on them.

The legislation, H.B. 3, outlines online protection for minors on social media platforms, requiring some to “prohibit certain minors from creating new accounts” and “requiring social media platforms to terminate certain accounts and provide additional options for termination of such accounts,” according to a summary of the bill.

The bill also provides “conditions under which social media platforms are required to prohibit certain minors from entering into contracts to become account holders.” In other words, minors 14 and 15 will not be able to create accounts on the apps without parental consent.

According to Florida’s Voice, “the bill requires adequate age verification measures for internet sites that contains [sic] obscene or ‘harmful’ content, unsuitable for minors.”

Briefly speaking, DeSantis said there is a real “danger” on social media for children, pointing to the danger of predators, who can easily target children online.

“Right now, with things like social media and all this, you can have a kid in the house, safe seemingly, and then you have predators … can get right in there, into your own home,” he explained.

“You could be doing everything right, but they know how to get and manipulate these different platforms. And so it’s created huge problems,” he continued before introducing Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R).

Renner said in part:

If you asked me a year ago, I would have said, you know, kids are on social media too much, but what’s the big deal and I wouldn’t be one of those people that was really on the sidelines. But knowing what I know now, none of us can afford to be on the sidelines when it comes to social media, when it comes to hardcore pornography that our kids are being exposed to. So what do we know?

“We know from law enforcement we know from our prosecutors, that social media is the primary platform in which children are trafficked, in which pedophiles … pretending to be children, come after our children, and that more crimes against children happen on these platforms than any other venue. We know that,” he said, also noting that social media is destroying the mental well-being of children.

Ultimately, Renner said they largely focused on addiction and “addictive features that are at the heart of why children stay on these platforms for hours and hours on end.”

“Our bill is focused on addiction, and when you think about it, children are not set up to handle the addiction that some of us as adults have had to face and step away from. … A child in their brain development doesn’t have the ability to know that they’re being sucked in to these addictive technologies, and to see the harm and step away from it,” he said, explaining why they must step in.

WATCH:

“If I said to you that a company was going to take children, use addiction that causes them harm for profit, what does that sound like? Sounds like trafficking to me,” Renner said, describing this as “digital trafficking.”

“But you know what? We’re gonna beat them. We’re gonna beat them and we’re never ever gonna stop,” he added.



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