KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Angela Poe Russell: Why Florida’s social media law is step in right direction

Apr 3, 2024, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:45 am

Photo: A new Florida law prevents a minor, younger than 14 years of age, from having a social media...

A new Florida law prevents a minor, younger than 14 years of age, from having a social media account. (File photo: Jenny Kane, AP)

(File photo: Jenny Kane, AP)

Florida’s governor and the legislature have been on a roll lately with several controversial legislative actions. However, one of them is worth replicating.

I must admit, I could not believe it when it happened. Rarely do I agree with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on anything. But the bill he recently signed into law, on kids and social media, is spot on.

Law prevents social media for minors

In case you missed it, the law prevents a minor, younger than 14 years of age, from having a social media account. Fourteen and 15-year-olds can have an account with parental consent.

The bill also requires pornographic or sexually explicit websites to use age verification.

Angela Poe Russell: Diddy’s sex trafficking allegations bring up complex issue

However, what’s unfortunate is some people are so stuck in their political corners, they can’t see a good thing when it’s staring them in the face. When it comes to our kids, we can’t afford to make this about politics.

Recent studies have revealed technology and social media use alters the size and physical characteristics of the brain. Then there’s the comparing that goes on, glamorizing harmful behaviors like eating disorders and cutting and the attention and sleep problems that follow.  And we can’t forget the scammers and predators.

Look I get it, social media is not all bad. People feel less alone and can make meaningful connections. But, any good tool needs guard rails.

Medved: Social media “friends” and the pandemic of loneliness

We need boundaries! Like yesterday.

I am not so naïve to think that a law will prevent kids from being on social media, but does that mean we do nothing? Does that mean we keep marching deeper into this crisis? Talk about the problem, but do nothing about it?

The reality is technology is moving faster than lawmakers and regulators can act. Now AI is on the scene. And if the experts can’t keep up, how do you think parents are faring? Some think the government should just throw up its hands and leave it to parents.

Um … how is that going? Not everybody has great parents.

Some work two jobs and trying to manage their kid’s social media comes in second to keeping a roof over their head. Even parents with the bandwidth struggle to reign it in as the tech companies, the kids and the scammers always seem a step ahead.

More on the issue: Instagram’s ‘nightly nudge’ may be a step toward healthy social media habits

We need an assist. Desperately. This is a step in the right direction.

But, I don’t know if it will stick. Federal judges have struck down similar laws in the past due to privacy and free speech concerns.

Government intervention isn’t always a bad thing. It facilitates education, healthcare and is a safety net for some.

It takes a village to raise a child. And in this case, if the village is the government in the form of Ron DeSantis, then so be it.

Angela Poe Russell is a longtime Seattle media personality and a fill-in host for KIRO Newsradio.

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

Image: This is a vintage magazine ad for the type of Cold War air raid siren which stood in a Seatt...

Feliks Banel

Update: Cold War air raid siren remains in private hands

A vintage magazine ad for the type of Cold War air-raid siren which stood in a Seattle park for more than 70 years, and which now belongs to Binford Metals in Kent. (Public domain)

9 hours ago

Image: A person holds a candle at a memorial and vigil outside Los Angeles City Hall in November 20...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Love always has a place to go, even in grief

It has been eight years and several days since our son Tommy died. He was just 2 1/2 years old when he passed away.

9 hours ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: What The Joker 2 Trailer Reveals About Our Society

Why do we love and fixate on villains? Jack Stine and Spike O’Neill watch the new trailer for The Joker 2, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga. Tune in live to The Jack and Spike Show weekdays from noon to 3pm on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM. And if that timing, or our location in western […]

9 hours ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Conservatives Walk Back Abortion Ban Stance

Arizona’s restrictive Civil War-era abortion ban from 1864 has Republican politicians and commentators across the United States scrambling and backing away from the pro-life movement. Wait, that can’t be right. Aren’t they supposed to be cheering this win, and defending the lives of the unborn? Jack Stine and Spike O’Neill come ready with receipts. Tune […]

1 day ago

OJ Simpson...

Greg Tomlin, KIRO Newsradio

Greg Tomlin: A national obsession 30 years later shows the country’s flaws

O.J. Simpson achieved fame, fortune and accolades for what he did on the football field. But, he'll be remembered primarily for his trial.

1 day ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Why Care About OJ Simpson’s Death?

OJ Simpson passed away today at the age of 76 from cancer. Jack Stine can’t understand why there’s wall-to-wall coverage about it everywhere you look. But Spike O’Neill, born of a different generation, is able to contextualize it. Tune in live to The Jack and Spike Show weekdays from noon to 3pm on KIRO Newsradio […]

2 days ago

Angela Poe Russell: Why Florida’s social media law is step in right direction