The Government wants to be the parent

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by Brian Chicoine

COVER PHOTO Parents voices being silenced Brian Chicoine file e1711939795919

Screen Shot 2015 11 013On March 25, Florida Governor – and former 2024 presidential candidate –Ron DeSantis [R], signed into law the “Online Protections for Minors” bill (CS/CS/HS 3). This bill prohibits minors under 14 years old from having social media accounts and requires 14 and 15 year-olds to obtain parental consent in order to obtain an account. A minor under 14 would not be allowed to have an account, even if it is okay with the parents. No matter how one may feel about minors having social media accounts, it is up to the parent/caregiver to determine if the minor should be allowed to have an account. (There are already avenues for those situations where the parents/caregivers cannot make decisions for minors). Bottom line: It is not the role of the government to make these decisions…it is the role of the parents/caregivers. 

Some may ask why this matters as it is not federal, nor is it here in New Hampshire. The thing is that once people get the idea that they can go beyond their role by ignoring the First Amendment, others will follow (especially if they get away with it by saying that they’re protecting children). Who doesn’t want to protect children? I want to protect children…but this bill is NOT about protecting children, it’s about government overreaching and taking decision-making away from the parents/caregivers. Remember, the Constitution doesn’t give rights to people, we already have these rights, our Constitution limits what the government can do. More government officials have gotten the idea of limiting parental decisions over minor’s social media usage as Arkansas, Ohio, and Utah have enacted similar laws, (which have, by the way, hit constitutional roadblocks, as I’m sure the Florida law will as well). But they are trying to get these laws passed anyway. 

As you may have guessed, I have some problems about the new law, as well as any laws like it. I have written some of my reasons below. Whatever your feelings about social media and minors, cell phones and minors, parental/caregiver rights, laws like this strip away at us making personal decisions for ourselves. 

Parents not Government Brian Chicoine File

Infringement on Privacy

One of the main criticisms of CS/CS/HB 3 is that it might inadvertently infringe on the privacy of minors and their families. To comply with the law, online platforms may require more intrusive verification processes to ascertain users’ ages, leading to the collection of sensitive personal information. Critics argue that such measures could expose minors to new privacy risks, making them more vulnerable to data breaches and misuse of their personal information.

Limitations on Free Speech

Critics also argue that the bill could impose undue limitations on free speech. By restricting access to certain online platforms and content, the bill might prevent minors from engaging with a wide range of ideas and expressions. This could not only hinder their ability to obtain information but also limit their opportunities for self-expression and participation in digital public spaces.

Parents should oversee social media usage of their kids Photo Credit Peoplecreations via FreePik scaled e1711940346194
Happy girl using mobile phone in kitchen at home

Youth Mental Health Could Be Affected

While the bill aims to protect minors’ mental health by shielding them from harmful online content, some argue that overly restrictive measures could have the opposite effect. Social media and online platforms often serve as important spaces for social interaction and support, particularly for marginalized or isolated youth. Restricting access to these platforms could exacerbate feelings of isolation and negatively impact mental health.

Overburdening Tech Companies

Another argument against CS/CS/HB 3 concerns the practical and financial burden it places on tech companies, especially smaller ones. The bill requires online platforms to implement age verification processes. Critics point out that such requirements could be particularly challenging for smaller companies to implement due to the high costs and technical complexities involved, potentially stifling innovation and competition in the tech industry.

Parents make decisions for their children Image Credit Senivpetro via FreePik scaled

Feasibility of Enforcement

The feasibility of effectively enforcing the provisions of CS/CS/HB 3 is also a point of contention. Given the global nature of the internet and the vast number of online platforms, ensuring compliance with the bill’s requirements could prove to be an insurmountable task. Critics argue that without practical means of enforcement, the bill may ultimately have little impact on improving online safety for minors, while still imposing significant costs on businesses and potentially infringing on individual rights.


While the intention of Florida’s CS/CS/HB 3 are good in seeking to protect minors from online harms, critics raise significant concerns about its potential consequences. Issues of privacy infringement, limitations on free speech, negative impacts on mental health, burdens on tech companies, and enforcement challenges suggest that the bill may not effectively achieve its objectives without unintended negative outcomes. 

As always, if you have a comment, please send me a message at


About this Author

Brian Chicoine

Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who moved to Manchester from Raymond in 1980. While a student at Notre Dame College here in Manchester, Brian transferred to Rhode Island College in Providence, where he met his now wife, Jackie. Brian and Jackie spent the next 20 years living in Providence and Manchester, returning to Manchester with their two sons, (who are proud Manchester natives), in the fall of 2017. He and his family intend on staying in Manchester and are committed to helping make it an even better place to live, work, and play.