DeSantis Signs Controversial Law

( – In a measure designed to protect children and boost parental rights based on conservative values, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a law limiting access for minors under 16 to social media, which has been termed “controversial” by mainstream media over free speech concerns.

On Monday, DeSantis enacted the law that is a reaction to growing concerns in the US about the impact social media platforms have on teenagers, AFP reports, cited by Insider Paper.

The legislation prohibits individuals aged 13 and under from creating social media accounts within the state.

Meanwhile, 14- and 15-year-olds are required to have parental approval to utilize these platforms.

Despite the intentions behind it, this law has sparked debate over free speech, arriving amidst a trend where conservative state administrations advance contentious “parental rights” laws.

DeSantis declared that the new law was “trying to help parents navigate this very difficult terrain that we have now with raising kids.”

“Social media platforms have caused a devastating effect in the mental well being of our children,” commented the GOP Speaker of the Florida House, Paul Renner.

He also highlighted the dangers lurking on social media, including threats from traffickers and pedophiles.

The report notes that most social media services stipulate a minimum user age of 13, although enforcement of this requirement is lax.

AFP also points out that the national dialogue has increasingly focused on the repercussions of social media on the cognitive and emotional development of children and adolescents.

Yet, it notes that Florida’s legislation raises eyebrows among those concerned it could establish a foundation for curtailing online free speech.

DeSantis, whose bid for the presidency was unsuccessful, withdrawing in January, has consistently argued in favor of amplifying parental influence over decisions impacting their children, particularly within the educational realm.

Parental rights laws in Florida and other states aim to grant parents a more significant say in topics considered contentious, including LGBT-related education in schools.

While the prohibition on social media seeks to enhance parental supervision over this issue, critics argue that such matters should not involve governmental interference.

Previously, DeSantis had vetoed a more stringent social media prohibition, which would have denied access to users under 16, stating at the time the need for a more nuanced approach that balances parental rights, privacy concerns, and free speech rights.

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