Florida özgü just enacted a new law restricting social media access for children. Those aged 15 and under must now obtain their parents’ consent to have a social media account, while children under 14 aren’t allowed to have one at all. That’s no more TikTok, no more Snapchat, no more Facebook, and no more Instagram.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 3 (HB 3) on Monday, after previously vetoing similar legislation earlier this month. At the time, he cited the imminent arrival of a “superior” bill that would “[support] parents’ rights.” It appears that HB 3 is that bill.

“Social media harms children in a variety of ways,” said DeSantis in a statement on Monday. “HB 3 gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.”

The new law will go into effect from Jan. 1 next year, which gives Florida’s kids a bit of time to either persuade their parents to sign their permission slip, or download all their posts before their accounts are deleted.

Many social media platforms already impose age requirements in their terms of service. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all require users to be at least 13 years old, while TikTok provides users aged 13 and under with a “curated, view-only experience… that includes additional safeguards and privacy protections.” HB 3 will impose a higher legal age limit of 14, as well as charge penalties to social media platforms for any violations.

How to legally use social media if you’re a child in Florida

Under Florida’s new legislation, social media platforms must prohibit children under the age of 14 from creating accounts, as well as delete any such accounts which already exist. The TikTok accounts of Florida’s 13-year-olds may not be saved by them simply lying about their age, either. Accounts that are treated or categorised as belonging to a user likely under the age threshold must also be terminated. As such, accounts could be deleted if the platform’s algorithm determines that a user’s preferred content indicates they are 13 or younger.

This doesn’t mean children are immediately set loose to flood Snapchat with Stories on their 14th birthday. While children aged 13 and under are completely banned from social media, 14- and 15-year-olds can only have accounts if their parent or guardian provides consent to the platform. If a child can’t obtain such consent, it’s strictly emails and group chats for them until they turn 16. A caregiver can also revoke consent and request a company straight up delete their child’s social media accounts. 

Fortunately, HB 3 explicitly excludes platforms that are exclusively for sending content to clearly identified recipients, meaning email and direct messaging services are still available to all regardless of parental approval. The legislation instead focuses on social media platforms where content can be posted publicly, including those such as Snapchat which facilitate both public posts and private messaging.

Despite the new law, Florida’s government won’t be hunting down middle school students doing TikTok dances. Rather, it’s the social media platforms that will face consequences should any kids create accounts. Any social media platform that doesn’t comply with HB 3’s social media age restrictions can be fined up to $50,000 per violation, and may also be sued on the child’s behalf for up to $10,000 in damages.

Keeping Florida’s kids off TikTok isn’t HB 3’s only mandate. The legislation also imposes age verification requirements for pornographic websites, following similar laws in other states.