Florida House of Representatives approves law prohibiting minors from accessing social media

Hours after the state Senate approved the proposal, the House approved the bill with 108 votes in favor and seven against.

The Florida House of Representatives approved the HB-1 bill Thursday that would prohibit access to social media for those under 16 years of age residing in the state. Hours after the state Senate approved the proposal, the House approved it as well, with 108 votes in favor to just seven against.

The bill, known colloquially as the Children's Online Protections Act, would require certain social media platforms (those with "addictive features" such as infinite scrolling, push notifications and auto-playing videos) to verify the age of account holders.

In addition, children under the age of 16 would be prohibited from creating a new account, and the profiles of any Florida resident who these platforms consider to be under 16 would be deleted.

Ron DeSantis critical of the Florida bill

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave his opinion on the proposal, saying just a day ago that he believed it "is not there yet." Furthermore, he explained in statements reported by ABC30 that he considered that it took away a fundamental role from parents, who currently are the ones who must decide whether or not their children can use different social networks:

As much as I think its harmful to have people on these social media platforms for five or six hours a day, a parent can supervise a kid to use it more sparingly. And I'm a critic of social media, but I have to look at this from a parent's perspective.

Some parents like Angela Perry share this opinion. She spoke with NBC, saying that although she understood the logic behind the bill, she considered it to be a decision that parents should make:

Whatever happened to parental rights? You are already selecting books my child can read at school. That is fine to a certain extent. But now you are also moving into their private life as well. It’s becoming intrusive.

This opinion contrasts with that of the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Republican Erin Grall. She assured that the draft could reduce the suicide rate among children, cyberbullying and the existence of predators who use social media to take advantage of minors. "We’re talking about businesses that are using addictive features to engage in mass manipulation of our children to cause them harm," she declared, referring to the need for the bill to be approved.