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The West Boca Bullseye

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The West Boca Bullseye

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Florida Futures: The Two Bills Affecting You

Bill+SB+1788%2C+which+is+commonly+referred+to+as+the+Social+Media+Bill+in+this+article.+Accessed+via+the+Florida+Senate+website.
Bill SB 1788, which is commonly referred to as the “Social Media Bill” in this article. Accessed via the Florida Senate website.

The Florida House of Representatives has been busy for the last few weeks. Two major bills were passed on the House floor and now moved to the Senate to be ratified: A bill that would ban children under 16 from having social media accounts, and another that would eliminate certain child labor protections for 16 and 17-year-olds.

The Bill Breakdown:

  • Both of these bills have yet to pass but are being moved to votes shortly. With normal bills, this process could take a few months but could move quicker because they are hot topics.
  • The Social Media Bill (SB1788) would force social media companies to remove accounts that belong to verified 16-year-olds and implement an age-verification process to certify their age-based data. It would also require these same companies to delete any data that pertains to those accounts.
  • The Child Labor Law bill (HB49) would relax work restrictions for 16 and 17-year-old workers, which currently restricts children from working more than 30 hours while school is in session and working less than 8 hours a day on weekdays.

The arguments:

Social Media Bill (SB1788):

Pro: Proponents of this bill cite the growing number of studies that link mental deficiencies with continued social media use. Governor Ron Desantis in an interview expressed his hope that “(the bill) will stick” despite growing concerns over legal battles that this bill will face. This bill had bipartisan support in the Florida House, and with such a large backing from parents and lawmakers alike, it’s possible that age-related social media restrictions could become realized shortly.

Con: The opposition to this bill points to the lack of specificity within the bill. For starters, there is no clear definition of what apps the term “social media” includes. Will Snapchat be banned? Youtube? This is partially where the legal concerns come from. Besides the disagreements of whether or not the government should have a say in the use of social media for children or if it should be up to parents, both sides agree that the current state of this bill could present issues. In the same interview, Gov. Ron Desantis drew comparisons to other states, saying “(they) have tried to do similar things that have met resistance in the courts.”

Child Labor Laws (HB49):

Pro: The argument for loosening minor labor restrictions either stems from a decision of parental choice or a decision of the economy. Those who believe that parents should make their own decisions regarding how much a child works concerning their school performance cite the bill’s clear deferral of decision-making to parents. The economy, which has led to most businesses struggling to find enough employees to sustain business operations, would benefit from minors no longer having strict limits on the number of hours they can work.

Con: This bill also has some partisan issues, as a similar law was put into effect that limited illegal immigrants in the workforce. This puts the weight of the economy on children, rather than working-age immigrants that have yet to become naturalized. It also could open up the door for child exploitation, since some parents have a disregard for their child’s educational needs and will instead use their work as a means to pay the bills.

West Boca Student Opinions:

Social Media Bill (SB1788)

Pro opinions:

“I honestly think it’s the right approach. Kids should not be on social media when it can affect them so much. Social media can especially affect mental health and is the result of many problems like suicide.” -Brenda Guerra
“Probably a good thing, I think kids these days grow up too fast and are going to regret they wished time away by not enjoying their childhood. Plus social media isn’t a necessity, they’re not gonna die without it.” -Janiah Sallutan
“I feel like children under 16 will still find a way to access social media through other people. But there are a lot of things on social media that should not be exposed to children. It would also prevent minors from talking to strangers online.” -Sheridan Charles-Pierre
“I think it can be potentially good, as social media has several issues with it that can easily influence younger audiences negatively.” -Anonymous

Con opinions:

“Limiting social media around this time may be too extreme, and I believe would overall negatively impact this. It would be more reasonable to ban it for those under 15 or 14, as that would be closer to Freshman year…” -Anonymous
“I believe that it could be very detrimental for the current and next generation. People who are 13-15 often use social media for connections with friends or even to set themselves up for a future career. To take that away without them having any say in the matter, as they can’t even vote or amplify their voices very well, is highly unfair.” -Kai (Kylie) Lord
“As much as I see the intent of the bill wanting to help students, they should only ban social media for kids that are in elementary school (6 to 11). Up until middle school will be the kid’s decision along with the parents’ input whether or not the student should have social media.” -Olivia Hasan
“I believe that children under the age of 13 actually should not have social media accounts, not 16 year olds.” -Helena Sousa

Final Verdict:

  • Most people generally disagree with the proposed bill
  • Many agree with the premise but believe it should be for younger children (common answers suggested 13-14 years old)

Child Labor Laws (HB49)

Pro opinions:

“Potentially good for 17 year olds, as most are Juniors or Seniors around that age, and it would be beneficial for them to be able to expand their work portfolio and earn more hours if they wish to schedule them, as they very soon will be young adults that should be considering working in a profession anyhow.” -Anonymous
“I like it because I just recently got a job but have a lot of restrictions on my hours.” -Dylan Taborda
“I think that this could be good for 16 and 17 year olds that want to prioritize work experience; having more available hours allows for greater development of important work skills.” -Tucker Peterson
“I think it’s a good idea to loosen labor laws for 16 and 17 year olds because it gives more freedom for them to earn more money.” -Sai Nirmal

Con opinions:

“Out of most high schoolers I know, many of them work very late during the school week and hate it but can’t do anything about it unless they’ll get fired. Children should be encouraged to learn not to be slaves.” -Emily Ross
“Children are impacted mentally and emotionally by working too much” -Gianna Sethi
“I don’t agree with it. As someone working in retail at that age, the amount of times I had to stay till after my scheduled time (even extending till around 11:00pm), affected my sleep schedule which then affected my school progression.” -Sarah Abreu
“I think it is not right because children go to school for most of the day and when they go to work they have to work more, then they have to go home and deal with homework which causes them to stay up” -Helena Sousa

Final Verdict

  • Most people agree with the bill to an extent
  • Allowing freedom for minors to work more hours is a positive, but some fear requirements that would come with it.
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Dylan Gaynor, Reporter
Hey everyone! I’m Dylan Gaynor, a Junior at West Boca. This is my second year on the staff and I’m so excited! When I’m not writing for The Bullseye, you can find me either at the gym or working at Chick-Fil-A (It really is my pleasure). In terms of writing, current events are my go-to genre with a focus on Politics and Government. I’m looking forward to a great year of coverage!
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