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Florida Governor Ron Desantis Has BANNED Children Under 14 From Using Social Media

NY Post - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved legislation Monday prohibiting minors under the age of 14 from using social media and mandating 14-and-15-year-olds obtain parental consent before logging on. 

The new law, House Bill 3, compels social media firms to scrap existing accounts for children and permits parents to request their child’s account be terminated.

“Social media harms children in a variety of ways,” DeSantis said in a statement. “HB 3 gives parents a greater ability to protect their children. Thank you to [Florida House] Speaker [Paul] Renner for delivering this landmark legislation.”

To verify the age of users, the law — which takes effect Jan. 1, 2025 — will require social media companies to keep users’ personal information anonymous and protected. 

“The internet has become a dark alley for our children where predators target them and dangerous social media leads to higher rates of depression, self-harm, and even suicide,” Renner, a Republican said in a statement.

The law is likely to face a legal challenge similar to those lodged against other states that have passed social media regulations.

I hate to get political on the blog. Usually I try every thing I can do to avoid political stories. But then I remember how any blog with a vaguely political headline gets a good amount of clicks, I instantly stop caring, then I write the blog and hope our editors let it rip.

I don't agree with everything Ron DeSantis does. I feel like he's a bit of a crazy person. But I don't want to jump to any conclusions about his new social media policy. There are plenty of valid reasons why kids under the age of 14 shouldn't have full access to the world of social media. Elon Musk floods my timeline with videos of people dying, and a brand new set of T-I-T-S  I-N  B-I-O. every day. On TikTok, Jeff Nadu covers a new gruesome beheading in excruciating detail multiple times per week. If a kid makes a few wrong clicks, there's no telling where he'd end up. Fuck around on Twitter for 5 minutes and next thing you know your 8-year old son has set up recurring $3,300 monthly payments, and given all of your personal information to Billy Football's congressional campaign. Billcotterforcongress.com is no place for a child.

Not to mention pedophiles. The internet is crawling with them. So if you're a parent in Florida who's worried about your child being exposed to Billy Football or pedophiles, then you might appreciate what DeSantis is doing. Personally, I'm a little worried about this law cutting into one of Barstool Sports key demographics (white youths), but you gotta take the good with the bad. Barstool isn't a place for children either. 

On the other hand, some kids are pretty good on the internet. Are we willing to lose funny kids? Some kids jump start their careers on social media at a young age For example, Lil Sas was barely 14-years old when he was hired by Barstool. Had he not fully poisoned his brain with Twitter replies by age 8, he wouldn't have been able to hone his craft at such a young age, and parlay his sizable internet following into a budding career in stand-up comedy.

Also consider Baby Gronk. Baby Gronk provided the internet with weeks of entertainment before people got sick of his act, realized he's not actually a good athlete, and forced him into retirement at age 12 (yes he's already come back out of retirement but that is a real thing that happened). What on earth would we do without the Baby Gronk's of the world.

And what about that Ryan kid who opens toys on YouTube. He has 36.7 million followers. We can't ban that kid. His parents have certainly already spent all of his money and are relying on a few more years of adorable content so they never have to work a day in their lives again.

Ok, so I guess those last 2 examples are probably irrelevant. I was just trying to think of famous internet kids. But Florida isn't banning kids from making content. They're just banning them from having free reign of the apps. But honestly, I'm not sure what's more damaging to a child. Letting them have free reign on social media, or allowing an adult to carefully craft their social profile and exploit them for their own financial gain. Child stars are famous for going on to live normal, well-adjusted lives. Just ask any kid who worked at Nickelodeon in the 90's. 

Sorry for the irrelevant couple of paragraphs. Either way, it must be a tough time for 11-year old kids in Florida who are already wildly addicted to social media. When this law goes into effect, there's going to be 6th graders who are hit with a nasty case of internet withdrawal. Poor kids. Parents are going to have to try and ween them off TikTok. Maybe they can start slowly cutting down on their screen time, and introduce their children to the concept of books. I know that seems outlandish, but you can't just cut a kid off cold turkey. That would be wildly irresponsible.