Senator Burgess, District 23 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2023
Florida State Senator Danny Burgess Highlights Passage of Social Media Safety Legislation
The Florida Legislature today passed legislation, House Bill 379 relating to Student Use of Social Media Platforms. The bill establishes a social media safety curriculum in Florida schools to ensure children understand the risks of using social media. Florida State Senator Danny Burgess sponsored the legislation in the Florida Senate, Senate Bill 52.
“I believe this is the most important bill that I have had the opportunity to pass as a legislator and a father,” said Senator Burgess. “With social media and the unprecedented access that smartphones put in the palm of our hands, it is harder than ever before to be a parent.
“Kids are losing their innocence at a younger and younger age, in large part because of what they see just by looking at their phones, and I, like many others, am concerned about the detrimental impacts social media has had on a generation of children. This is a systemic problem that invades every home and school, but we can overcome it through the power of education. With this legislation, our schools and parents will be able to work together to provide children with the educational tools they need to help protect their mental health and avoid the pitfalls of social media.
“I want to thank Representative Brad Yeager for spearheading this legislation in the Florida House, Representative Ralph Massullo for his thoughtful additions to the bill, and all of my colleagues in the Legislature for their support of this important initiative for Florida’s children.”
Specifically, House Bill 379 will:
- Require the Florida Department of Education to develop a curriculum for social media safety and make all instructional materials from the course available online.
- Require district school boards to notify parents of the availability of social media safety instructional materials.
- Require social media safety material to include age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate instruction for students in grades 6-12, and focus on the social, emotional, and physical effects of social media.
- Require social media safety instruction to include:
- Risks of social media on mental health, including addiction, the distribution of misinformation, how social media manipulates behavior, and the permanency of sharing materials online.
- How to safely use social media, such as maintaining personal security and identifying cyberbullying, predatory behavior, and human trafficking, and how to report suspicious behavior encountered on the internet.
- Require schools to restrict student access to social media platforms on school-provided WiFi and devices.
- Prohibit the use of wireless communication devices during instructional time, except when used solely for educational purposes as directed by the student’s teacher.
- Require school districts to adopt an internet safety policy that addresses safe and secure access to the internet by students.
- Prohibit the use of TikTok on school-provided internet.