- State GOP Senator Danny Burgess filed his first bill for the upcoming Legislative Session on Thursday, introducing a proposal that would require social media education to become part of school curriculum
- According to the language of the bill proposal, it would require that public schools in Florida hold education forums that would help teach students how to navigate and safely use social media platforms
- Under the bill’s definition of social media, most mainstream social media services would be covered including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok
- Burgess filed a near-identical bill during the last Legislative Session that failed to pass, gaining sponsors from Minority Senate Leader Lauren Book and recently appointed Board of Governors Chancellor Sen. Ray Rodrigues
Danny Burgess, the Republican state Senator representing Zephyrhills, filed a bill ahead of the upcoming Legislative Session that if passed, would require social media safety education in classrooms across the state.
According to the language of the bill proposal, it would require that public schools in Florida hold education forums that would help teach students how to navigate and safely use social media platforms.
Further, all taught information would be required to be readily available online for students to access.
“For better or worse, social media is a part of our society,” said Burgess on Twitter. “Knowledge is power, but due to the rapidly changing nature of social media and the continuous development of new apps targeting children, it is hard for parents to feel confident that they can keep their kids safe online.”
Today, I filed my 1st bill for the 2023 Session. SB 52 requires social media safety education in Florida classrooms. We’ve learned that social media affects users' social, emotional, & physical health & our children are among the most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/Xzb0lXPVIZ
— Danny Burgess (@DannyBurgessFL) December 1, 2022
In the bill text, the term “social media” means a form of interactive electronic communication through a website or application in which a user creates a service-specific identifying user profile to connect with other users for the purpose of communicating and sharing information, media, and more.
Under this definition, most mainstream social media services would be covered including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok.
“Being a parent today requires constant vigilance and education, but parents do not have to do this alone,” continued Burgess. “Senate Bill 52 requires school districts to partner with parents and teach our children about the advantages and disadvantages of social media.”
Should the bill be adopted, it would go into effect on July 1st, 2023.
Burgess filed a near-identical bill during the last Legislative Session, gaining sponsors from Minority Senate Leader Lauren Book and recently appointed Board of Governors Chancellor Sen. Ray Rodrigues.
While last year’s bill appeared to gain traction, it died in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education in March.
A similar bill was filed earlier this year in the Florida House, but it also died early in the legislative process, in the Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee in March.
Parents, teachers, and lawmakers alike have raised concerns over the effects that social media has on young children, focusing on cognitive and social ramifications. Studies show decreased attention spans among elementary-aged students, coupled with an increased reliance on technology to problem-solve.
Moreover, children can oftentimes fall victim to social media scams and disinformation tactics.