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(LifeSiteNews) — A new Florida law aims to protect kids from porn sites and stops them from having social media accounts before they are 14 years old.

Starting in 2025, minors under 14 will be prohibited from creating social media accounts for certain platforms with “addictive features.” Social media platforms can allow 14- and 15-year-olds to have accounts with parental consent.

The bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers.

House Bill 3, signed on March 25 by Governor Ron DeSantis, will also require “age verification” for “pornographic or sexually explicit websites,” a news release stated.

He had vetoed a different version several weeks prior that did not allow kids to sign up even with parental approval. It requires websites to offer “anonymous age verification” to protect the private info of users, though this has raised some concerns about internet freedom and free speech groups.

This law could have the effect of reducing porn access overall in the state, as some websites have said they cannot comply with other similar laws. Pornhub stopped operating in Texas after the Lonestar State passed a similar law.

“The site has had to quit doing business in a growing number of Republican-led states, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, thanks to laws requiring age verification in recent months,” LifeSiteNews reported in March.

The legislation takes aim at social media platforms with “addictive features” that are meant to draw users in for hours, including “infinite scrolling” and videos that autoplay without being clicked.

“Social media harms children in a variety of ways, ” Gov. DeSantis stated. “HB 3 gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.”

READ: France looks to crack down on porn sites that don’t verify viewer age

House Speaker Paul Renner called social media a “dark alley… where predators target them and dangerous social media leads to higher rates of depression, self-harm, and even suicide,” a statement supported by social science research

For example, a 2022 paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health identified “depression,” “psychological problems,” and “diet” as problems with minors using social media.

“Other identified associated problems were sleep, addiction, anxiety, sex related issues, behavioral problems, body image, physical activity, online grooming, sight, headache, and dental caries,” the researchers wrote.

A 2021 paper in the same journal identified “insomnia,” “low academic outcomes” and “mood disturbances” as some of the harms of social media and smartphone use by teens.

However, some groups have raised privacy and speech concerns about different aspects of the bill.

“By banning social media accounts for users under 13, or under 16 without parental consent, the bill requires both teens and parents to reveal their identities to verify their relationship and the parent’s consent,” the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression wrote in its analysis. “In doing so, the provision eliminates anonymity for everyone — adults and minors.”

“We are disappointed that Gov. DeSantis signed this unconstitutional legislation. HB 3 will place substantial restrictions on Floridians’ access to protected speech online,” FIRE wrote.

READ: French leftists and Texas conservatives agree: Kids must be protected from online pornography

In a letter asking DeSantis to veto the bill, NetChoice said it would affect anonymous internet speech. A March 7 letter connected this bill to Ambassador Nikki Haley’s brief proposal to unmask anonymous social media accounts.

“We ask you to veto HB 3 precisely because its faults mirror those of HB 1 and echo the issues for which you rightfully criticized former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley on the campaign trail last year,” the group wrote.

“We share the goal of better protecting minors from harmful content online, but an unconstitutional law helps no one,” the letter stated. “NetChoice members have taken issues of teen safety seriously and in recent years have rolled out numerous new features, settings, parental tools, and protections to better empower parents
and assist in monitoring their children’s use of social media.”