Local

PHONES UP: Florida bill banning classroom cellphone use and social media safety headed to Gov. desk

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida students will soon be required to learn social media safety in schools and have to put their phones away during class.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

It’s part of legislation headed to the Governor’s desk after clearing the Florida Legislature this week.

Parents of students at Ribault High School didn’t mince words when it came to their students’ cellphone and social media use.

“These phones are distracting. I don’t go to school and it distracts me,” parent Priscilla Williams said.

READ: Florida high school student accused of posting viral school shooting threat

“They’re glued to the phone,” another parent Kawaga Perry said.

One of the first bills filed this legislative session sought to educate students about the dangers they could face online, particularly on social media.

“Kids are losing their innocence at an earlier and earlier age and it’s honestly heartbreaking,” State Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) said in a December interview.

READ: Orange County mother facing neglect, manslaughter charges in connection to son’s death

Burgess sponsored the legislation.

His proposal called for social media safety instruction to be incorporated into health classes in grades 6-12 covering disinformation, the permanency of online posts, cyberbullying, human trafficking and impacts on mental health.

“If this issue is not deserving of a curriculum, then I don’t know what is,” Burgess said.

SEE: Storm names for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

The final product sent to the Governor’s desk this week also requires students to put their phones away in a designated location during classroom instruction.

After telling local parents about the changes, the reaction was unanimously positive.

“It can benefit them a lot,” Duval father Ben Dawson said.

READ: Bill in Congress would increase housing allowance coverage for military families

“They are too trusting, let me say. Cause I have to tell my daughter a lot, yeah, you don’t know this person. You don’t know if it’s a real person,” Perry said.

“There are pedophiles out here, people that are scammers out here, sex trafficking out here. There’s a whole bunch of stuff out here. I think that’s a good idea,” Williams said.

The bill also explicitly bans TikTok from being accessed on school networks and requires districts to insert guardrails on school computers, to ensure students only have access to age-appropriate content and can’t access social media platforms on school devices.

The bill is set to take effect July 1st, assuming the Governor gives it the green light.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

0
Comments on this article
0