Social Media: Only For Some

DeSantis signs House Bill 3 into law in the state of Florida
Social Media: Only For Some

CW: Minor discussion of sexual crimes

What is HB3?

The Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has officially passed HB3, which is set to go into effect in January 2025.

HB3 (CS/CS/HB3: Online Protection for Minors), or simply House Bill 3, requires “…social media platforms to terminate certain accounts and provide additional options for termination of such accounts; providing conditions under which social media platforms are required to prohibit certain minors from entering into contracts to become account holders…”, according to

Story continues below advertisement reports that, in short, minors under the ages of 14-15 will be prohibited from obtaining social media accounts. Children between the ages of 14 and 15 will be able to create social media accounts but with parental access.

Why HB3?

Before this bill had been officiated, Floridians were discussing whether or not it was an effective solution to current issues with social media.

Some agreed that prohibiting minors from social media would benefit them, as “Social media harms children in a variety of ways” according to Governor Ron DeSantis.

Paul Renner, a Palm Coast House Speaker, “…contends that social media use harms children’s mental health and can lead to sexual predators communicating with minors,” according to

Renner states, “This is something that I believe will save the current generation and generations to come if we’re successful,” as noted by

HB3: Before and After

The oldest a child could be before owning a social media account before HB3 was passed was 16. Before, a child under the age of 16 would not be able to own social media.

16 is no longer the cut-off for Florida minors to create social media accounts.

NBC News reports that DeSantis vetoed this bill, which also required Floridians to submit, “an ID or other identifying materials in order to join social media.”

Based on interviews with the students of CSHS, it was believed that 16 was too old to expose a child to social media for the first time.

Those who are under the age of 14 and currently have a social media account will have their accounts deleted by the companies themselves, according to

NBC News also states, “Companies that fail to do so (delete the accounts) could be sued on behalf of the child who creates an account on the platform. The minor could be awarded up to $10,000 in damages, according to the bill.”

Companies found to be in violation of the law would also be liable for up to $50,000 per violation, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs.”

Sienna Tang, a student at Coral Springs High, notes that the law is excessive, “…however, if they don’t put any effort into this law no one will abide. But furthermore, underage kids will find a way to [by] pass this law and create an [account] anyways- so they should try to find another solution.”

HB3: Is It the Smartest Choice?

Others feel that this bill is “unconstitutional.” NBC News states that Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice (pending US Supreme Court cases dealing with the First Amendment and content moderation), finds this bill unconstitutional.

He states, “There are better ways to keep Floridians, their families and their data safe and secure online without violating their freedoms.”

Szabo also states, according to CBS News, “Social media websites provide access to speech on topics ranging from religious worship and political dialogue to sharing recipes and offering well-wishes. And the Supreme Court has made clear that the government lacks the ‘free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.'”

Multiple sources state that many Floridians deem this law unconstitutional, it is not just tech company owners or people like Szabo who are involved with technology companies. even described the law as, “…A Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing.”

Some find the law a smart way to protect minors from content they may not be ready to be exposed to.

Sienna Tang states that children not having a social media account would prove beneficial, as it “…[blocks] them from harmful and sensitive info.” Tang also believes “…it would lower the percent of kids comparing themselves and becoming depressed.”

House Bill Three will impact more than just Floridian minors, as noted by 14-year-old Mia Lugo. Social media platforms themselves would be impacted, and not positively:

“Without the teenagers, it’s (social media platforms) gonna [sic] become a more ‘adult-ified’ place, and let’s say if a kid wanted to get on, and it’s ‘adult-ified,’ they’ll be traumatized for life.”

Jaqueline Jenkins, another student at Coral Springs High, shares a similar view.

“This change would mean social media mainly consists of adults, young adults, and preteens, which is still a significant amount of people. Children being taken off the platform would probably make content less kid-friendly, or would generate more content for older audiences.”

Coral Springs High School student Travis Leal believes that HB3 will benefit the mental well-being of the affected group.

“The unrestricted and constant consumption of media from such a small age has been proven on multiple accounts to hurt and numb the creativity and growth of children younger than 8 or 9. The use of media itself is not a problem but it’s [the] extremely repetitive need to watch to watch something at such a young age [that] is absolutely troubling.”

Jenkins, like others, believes it is ultimately the parent’s responsibility to monitor their children, especially with their online presence.

“The law will benefit the younger generation from being influenced by social media at a very young age. It (social media) can cause a lot of issues down the line, especially if the child is being influenced by negative things online. While it should ultimately be the parent’s job to monitor their child’s social media use, this law does not benefit kids overall.”

Vivian, a junior at CSHS, also discusses how this bill is not fully beneficial for any parties involved.

“It’s good to want to try and keep younger audiences online safer but to fully prohibit them is just unfair to them and the creators of businesses. [It] should be up to the [parents] to decide what the children do online.”

Floridians as a whole are torn over whether House Bill Three is more “unconstitutional,” or “effective.”

Overall, this debate is ethics versus ethics, as both parties believe they are doing the right thing.

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