Kids Are Smarter Than Us, and Other Facts on Social Media Bans


Come, come into my awkward live chat. Let's discuss social media as moderators bounce the bots, incels and meatheads from the comments.

I am writing this guide as a columnist, which means I am allowed to have an opinion, much to the envy of my more formal news colleagues who must sit around holiday tables of ham and lamb cakes remarking, "Yeah, I can't really weigh in" through gritted teeth.

That means the following explainer will be a mix of reported fact and commentary. This is important to stipulate with media literacy on the decline, thanks, in part, to social media's smoothing influence. Recent evidence: the people ready to bet it all on a theory that Kate Middleton took time off to grow out regrettable bangs.

(SET BOLD) What happened? (END BOLD)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill barring kids from social media. It's a lightened-up version of an earlier bill DeSantis vetoed.

It bans kids 13 and younger from creating accounts, requiring platforms to seek and destroy their profiles. Teens aged 14 and 15 would need parental consent to post selfies they will later regret, and so on. The bill also blocks minors from adult websites, requiring visitors to prove their age.


(SET BOLD) What, like how you say you're 21 on the Captain Morgan site? (END BOLD)

Aye, more complicated. The websites would have to use third-party age verification software, which could involve submitting government IDs or facial scans. This scenario has played out in Texas, where PornHub suspended service to the state on the heels of an age-verification law. Not that anyone in Texas, or Florida, has any interest in that enterprise, nope, moving along.

(SET BOLD) Which websites or apps? (END BOLD)

Wouldn't you like to know. The bill does not name names but applies to platforms with 10% of users younger than 16 using them at least two hours per day. The sites must also have "addictive features" such as infinite scrolling, push notifications and videos of French bulldogs running around pool decks.


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