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After Florida, could Alabama ban children from personal social media accounts?

On the heels of Florida’s ban on minors using social media, many in Alabama are wondering if the Yellowhammer State would follow suit.

The Florida law bans children under the age of 14 from having their own personal social media accounts. It also requires parental consent for those ages 14 and 15 to have their own social media profiles.

It also mandates that social media companies purge the accounts of children under the age of 14 and also those who are under 16 that have not gained parental consent. It will require the companies to use a third-party verification system to screen for those underage.

Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery), a mother of two teenagers, has recently begun to emerge as a key voice on the issue.

Last April, Britt proposed the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act. The legislation would ban social media use for all minors under 13. It would also require parent or guardian approval for social media use for minors aged 13 to 17 and would ban platforms from using algorithms to promote content to users under 18.

“As a mom, nothing is more important to me than preserving the next generation’s opportunity to live the American Dream. Unfortunately, that Dream is turning into a nightmare for families across our country,” Britt said in a statement at the time. “This bill is a bold, critical step to protect our kids, secure their future, and empower parents.”

On the state level, Rep. Ben Robbins (R-Sylacauga) proposed legislation in 2023 that would require schools in his district to prohibit students from having access to social media sites on school Wi-Fi.

Alabama was one of 30 states in 2023 where lawmakers introduced legislation and resolutions with the intent to restrict children’s and teens’ access to social media.

Gov, Kay Ivey signed legislation in 2022 that banned the social media platform, TikTok, from all state government devices and networks.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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