DeSantis signs social media ban at Jacksonville charter school

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 3 at Cornerstone Classical Academy in Jacksonville Monday, putting strict controls on social media.

DeSantis displayed HB 3. Photo: (Photo: Lindsey Roberts)

The new law prevents anyone younger than 14 years old from becoming a social media account holder, allows parents to decide whether 14- and 15-year-olds can have a social media account and protects the ability of Floridians to remain anonymous online.

It also requires sexually explicit websites to use age verification to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content.

DeSantis cited his role as a father of three as one of the contributing factors in his support of the legislation.

The governor says social media allows predators into homes because the operators know how to manipulate platforms.

House Speaker Paul Renner told the audience social media is the primary platform where kids are trafficked.

 “More crimes against children happen on these platforms.”

The speaker explained the bill is not addressing free speech in any form, adding, “our bill is focused on addiction.”

“Children cannot deal with the addiction like adults can. A child doesn’t have the ability to know they are being sucked into these addictive technologies, he said.”

Renner also announced, Florida is working to ban the use of Tik Tok on school computers as well as requiring lessons on the dangers of social media starting next school year.

State Attorney General Ashley Moody said how social media is destroying the mental health of children by targeting them to stay online longer, leading to increased cases of self-harm, anxiety, anorexia and suicide.

State Sen. Erin Grall, R-Ft. Pierce, warned that technology is coming for children. She said for too long parents have abdicated their responsibility. “There is now this babysitter in our homes. This babysitter has none of the hopes and dreams that you have for your children. None of them. But has the ability to take them all away.”

State Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Brevard, called social media “digital Fentanyl.” He warned Floridians will soon hear social media companies say they are bastions of free speech, or they are the town square.

“For our children, these companies are no town square,” he said. “They are a dark alley in which our children are exposed to dangers that parents spend their entire lives having nightmares about.”

Duval County School Board member April Carney spoke candidly about her own battle to protect her teenage girls from the pressures of the online world.

Carney warned about the dangers of social media. (Photo: Lindsey Roberts)

Carney spent time with JSO’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit recently. She said spending the day with the “small but mighty” unit changed her forever. She explained how an officer posing as a teenage girl was able to access and convince a young girl to send him pictures of herself within a few minutes of initiating what she believed was an innocent conversation with another teenager. 

Lindsey Roberts

Lindsey Roberts graduated from the University of Florida where she studied history and journalism. She was a multimedia producer at First Coast News for five years and then pursued her career as a Mommy to two beautiful children. She has always followed political news and anything specifically related to issues affecting the family and the American way of life. She is ready to get back to her roots by writing for Eye On My City. We are thrilled to have her onboard!!


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