DeSantis Says 'Parents Need to Have a Role' on Controversial Social Media Bill

DeSantis Says 'Parents Need to Have a Role' on Controversial Social Media Bill

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
February 22, 2024

Florida HB1, which would ban minors from accessing social media, has faced considerable controversy since its introduction at the beginning of the year. During a press conference in Lake Buena Vista, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) stated "There are legitimate issues that [have] got to be worked out," and reiterated the importance of parental rights.

"I am fine with saying, 'let's have enforcement," said Gov. DeSantis, agreeing that social media is often harmful to teenagers.

"I also believe that parents need to have a role in this, so we are working to make sure that there is a role for parents," he added.

One suggestion Gov. DeSantis gave was encouraging parents to "supervise a kid to use [social media] more sparingly."

"And so we cannot say 100% of the uses are bad because it is not, and I am a critic of social media, but I have to look at this from a parent's perspective. So we are working through those, [but] I do not think it is there yet. Hopefully, we will be able to get there in a way that, I think, answers the concerns that a lot of folks have because I do think parents are concerned about social media and what goes on there. And I do think that they think it is a problem but I also think that for people that are in high school, it is not as simple. I think you have got to have some parental involvement," DeSantis concluded.

Other Florida Legislators have been more critical in their opposition to the bill, including Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

"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," Sen. Rubio told The Floridian.

Similarly, Sen. Scott said, "You have to get parental consent. All of the social media stuff, we ought to focus on parental consent."

State Senator Blaise Ingoglia (R) also told The Floridian he had "serious concerns with HB1 from a constitutional perspective, and from a perspective of not being consistent when we say we want to empower parents."

The Republican-controlled Senate passed the measure this week. The House of Representatives  continues to debate the issue and while many amendments to the seemingly flawed bill have been offered, the controversial ban is still in place.

"HB1 protects children & strengthens parental rights. After weeks of hard work addressing constitutional, privacy, & parental rights concerns, we’ve made HB1 the strongest legislation in the nation to protect children from addictive social media features," stated Speaker Renner.

Speaker Renner continued, adding that lawmakers had "addressed constitutional concerns" that Gov. DeSantis expressed his doubts and concerns over.

"We’ve addressed constitutional concerns by narrowly focusing the scope of the bill on the addictive features, added enhanced anonymity provisions to the age verification process to protect user data, and incorporated meaningful penalties to hold Big Tech accountable," added Renner. "Social media companies know their product is harmful to children. They offer empty apologies but choose to do nothing about it. It’s time for leaders to act and protect our children!"

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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