The Florida legislature approved yesterday, Thursday, bill banning children under 16 from using social mediaa controversial initiative at a time when debate is raging in the US about its effects on young people.

US authorities have increasingly criticized internet giants, especially Meta, which they accuse of harming the mental and physical health of young people.

The bill in Florida, which had been approved by the Senate, also passed the state House yesterday, with 108 votes in favor and 7 against. Now it remains for Gov. Ron DeSandis — who has expressed reservations — to sign it into law.

If DeSandis signs the bill, social media will be required to prevent children under the age of 16 from obtaining an account on their platforms and to close existing ones.

Most social media have set a minimum age of 13 for their users, but it is easy to bypass this requirement.

“We’re talking about businesses using addictive features to massively manipulate our children,” said Republican Sen. Erin Graal, who introduced the bill.

Many Florida senators oppose the bill, arguing that parents, not authorities, should control their children’s use of social media.

“Parents have the right to express their opinion,” DeSandis also assessed yesterday during a press conference.

Moreover, some critics of the bill say that such a ban violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.

In January, DeSandis warned that the bill could be struck down by the courts, noting that similar initiatives in other states have been blocked in court.

In 2023, a federal judge struck down an Arkansas law that required social media sites to get parental approval before giving children access to their platforms.