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Florida Senators are taking a crack at a bipartisan move to ban kids from social media

The Florida Historic Capital
Anna Jones
/
WFSU Public Media
The Florida Historic Capital

Florida State Senator Erin Grall (R-Fort Pierce) is sponsoring a bill (SB-1788) that would block kids under the age of 16 from having their own social media accounts.

Members of a Senate Judiciary committee voted in favor of the bill Monday, which shares similar language from a previous measure passed in the House.

“One thing to point out is the definition of social media platforms," said Grall. "This is not about content, this about features of the online forums, website, or application; that they have the ability to track the activity of a user.”

At right, Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach Rep. asks a question to Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City about his bill titled CS/SB 2-D: Property Insurance in the Florida House of Representatives Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. The bill passed 95-14. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Phil Sears/AP
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FR170567 AP
At right, Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach Rep. asks a question to Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City about his bill titled CS/SB 2-D: Property Insurance in the Florida House of Representatives Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. The bill passed 95-14. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

Sen. Grall said on Monday that the purpose of her bill isn’t to ban minors from social media because of explicit content, it’s due to certain features apps like Snapchat, TikTok, or Instagram uses to attract kids.

The bill would terminate accounts owned by users under the age of 16, with or without parental consent. If passed, a social media company would have 90 days to verify the ages of account holders by using personal identifying information such as a birth certificate or a driver’s license. Similar bills in other states have faced legal pushback but Grall believes her “narrow approach” will hold up in court.

“We’ve attempted to learn from the mistakes of those that go before you and see what it is to see what it is that caused a court to strike down a bill like this in other states,” said Grall.

Meanwhile, another bill that puts restrictions on how kids use technology is making its way through the Senate. That measure (SB-1196)would require manufacturers of smartphones and tablets to include filters that prevent youngsters from accessing material that may be harmful.

The law would go into effect July 1st.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.

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