WATCH: State Rep. Tyler Sirois Holds Press Conference to Detail HB 591 Social Media Protection for Minors
By Space Coast Daily // February 16, 2023
bipartisan effort targets social media platforms and protect minors from dangers associated with heavy use
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Florida State Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island), along with Representative Michele Rayner-Goolsby (D-St. Petersburg) and Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens), held a press conference to talk about HB 591: Social Media Protection for Minors.
The legislators are working together, along with Senator Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton), on the bipartisan effort to target social media platforms and protect minors from various dangers associated with heavy use.
With the rise of social media, social researchers are finding an increase in anxiety and depression among minors. The features that are intended to keep children and teens on the platform for long periods of time affect their mental and emotional well-being.
It increases distraction, disrupts sleep, and exposes them to bullying, unrealistic views of other people’s lives, and peer pressure.
The bill would require platforms to disclose information about content moderation, image editing, and harassment policies. It would also require local mental health and violence prevention resources to be shared based on zip code.
“Social media has rapidly become ingrained in our everyday life with little interference,” said Rayner-Goolsby. “While platforms can bring a sense of community, the ability to create an algorithm that best for advertisers is not creating a safe space for our children. It’s far past due that these measures are adopted.”
“Social media is hurting our kids. My concerns range from how data of minors is being collected and used to the alarming rates of mental health disorders and suicide, particularly in young women and girls,” said Sirois.
“I look forward to working with Representative Rayner-Goolsby and our Senate partners on this important and bipartisan legislation.”
“It’s time for us to tell social media companies, which are profiting off of young people’s addiction to these platforms, that they need more accountability and transparency,” said Melinda Stanwood, a Leon county parent of six.
“It’s not too much to ask them to disclose the truth about their methods. It’s not too much to ask them to share resources for lifesaving services. Our young people are worth it.”