Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee appear to be caught in a bit of a parental rights political pickle of the controversial social media ban bill
On the one hand, Republican lawmakers like Sen. Erin Grall are defending and promoting parental rights, but on the other hand, are pushing legislation to ban parents from allowing children under the age of 16 to have access to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
In a rare departure from Governor Ron DeSantis, the Republican-led measure outlawing social media accounts for minors—regardless of parental wishes.
"If we as a government have identified this harm that is beyond the magnitude of any one person to really get in the middle of and control, then we have an obligation to set some parameters," The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Erin Grall, said Monday. She referenced how the government has intervened in gambling, alcohol, and tobacco, stating: "This is us stepping in and saying this is beyond any one family and any one parent-child relationship."
"This is something [where] the magnitude has reached such a level that we have to step in as a government," added Sen. Grall.
But just as Florida Republican legislators appear to have flinched on their full support for parental rights, congressional Republican lawmakers have not.
The Floridian was able to catch up with Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and Utah Senator Mike Lee, who all expressed their support for parents being able to address every aspect of their children’s life.
“I think those entities (Social Media companies) should make their product amenable to parental controls. That’s the best way to handle it and I prefer to have industry do that, understanding that if they don’t, there’s a risk they are going to start seeing state intervention,” said Senator Lee.
Senator Rubio, who said that he had not been able to read into the Social Media ban measure being considered in the Florida Legislature, believes the parents should be empowered to make decisions for their children.
“I strongly hope parents can have more tools about monitoring and controlling what young children can see on social media, but in the end, it is about empowering parents to make those decisions,” said Sen. Rubio.
Senator Scott, who is running for reelection to the Senate this cycle, echoed what Sens. Rubio and Lee said, saying that “parental consent” was paramount to addressing the social media exposure to children.
“You have to get parental consent. All of the social media stuff, we ought to focus on parental consent,” added Sen. Scott.
The three senators join a growing number of congressional lawmakers, including Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Greg Steube, and John Rutherford, who are standing firm behind parents over a social media ban.
In the Florida House of Representatives, the controversial measure is sponsored by Reps. Tyler Sirois, Fiona McFarland and Michele Rayner.
The co-sponsors are Reps. Adam Anderson, Doug Bankson, Mike Beltran, Dean Black, Hillary Cassel, Ryan Chamberlin, Kevin Chambliss, Randy Fine, Alina Garcia, Berny Jacques, Ralph Massullo, Lauren Melo, James Mooney, Toby Overdorf, Rachel Plakon, Susan Plasencia, Alex Rizo, Michelle Salzman, Allison Tant, John Temple, DanaTrabulsy, Chase Tramont, and Katherine Waldron