Florida bill aims to ban TikTok, other social media apps from schools

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A pair of bills filed in the Florida House and Senate seek to block social media apps, including TikTok, from being accessed on school internet.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced his support for the bills (HB 379 and SB 52) Wednesday that would require Florida school districts to “prohibit and prevent students from accessing social media platforms through the use of internet access provided by each district.”

The bills would also require in-school instruction on social media safety and how students can utilize the app in their personal and professional lives.

“Children are the future, so I’m not sure why we would ever allow something as addicting and useless as TikTok to be allowed in our K-12 institutions,” Patrronis said. “I call it digital fentanyl because you can see how addicting it is – and it especially targets our children.”

The CFO’s endorsement of the bills comes on the heels of national speculation that the platform is a privacy risk to both students and government employees. In recent weeks, officials in the U.S. House of Representatives directed TikTok to be removed from all devices managed by the House.

The University of Florida encouraged its community members to stop using the social media app and the University of Texas at Austin barred students from accessing TikTok on its WiFi network after the state’s Gov. Greg Abbott (R) banned the application from use on government devices.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy even cautioned parents that 13-year-olds are too young to join social media.

“Florida schools should take a hard stand that this isn’t an acceptable application to be used on school grounds,” Patronis said. “I want to thank Representative Yeager and Senator Burgess for spearheading this bill.”

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