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Bill requiring progress in teaching on social media

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A bill requiring public schools in Florida to include classes on social media alongside other compulsory curricula was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday with unified, non-partisan support.

SB 480, sponsored by the Republican Sen. Danny Burgess of Zephyrhills, would require public schools to educate students about social media, its benefits and dangers through instructions and rules developed by the Department of Education.

If the law is passed and signed by the governor, local school authorities would need to develop social media literacy lesson plans in accordance with state standards, make the appropriate teaching materials available online, and notify parents of their availability. These requirements would apply from July 1st.

Lessons would be mandatory, such as those of African American history, elements of civil government, the history of the Holocaust, and the effects of alcohol and intoxicating spirits, beverages, and narcotics many other subjects.

“Ultimately, there is no turning back the clock,” said Burgess. “This bill is designed not only to empower parents by making this material available, but also to ensure that our children are aware of the long-term risks associated with essentially having the world at hand.”

The bill – which would give Florida its first legal definition of social media – would have no impact on state revenue or spending, but could have tax implications for school districts, so Kendra Jahnke, the committee’s senior legislative analyst.

“Social media play an essential role in today’s culture,” she wrote in hers analysis the bill, quote Survey from 2018 and 2021 shows that 90% of young people between the ages of 13 and 17 stated that they had used social media. These surveys also showed that 75% of teenagers by the age of 17 had at least one active social media profile and more than 67% had their own mobile devices with internet capabilities.

According to Jahnke, the potential benefits social media offers include staying in touch with friends, meeting new friends with common interests, finding community and support for activities, sharing artwork or music, self-expression and self-exploration.

Potential risks include: exposure to harmful or inappropriate content, exposure to dangerous people, cyberbullying, excessive disclosure of personal information, exposure to excessive advertising, privacy concerns such as collecting data on teenage users, identity theft, hacking and sleep disorders, exercise, or homework Family activities.

“Requiring classes in social media competence could give students a better understanding of the benefits and risks of communicating and exchanging information on social media platforms,” ​​wrote Jahnke.

If the bill is passed, social media would be defined in state law as “a form of interactive electronic communication through an Internet website or application that allows a user to create a service-specific user profile in order to connect with other users of the Internet website , or use for the purpose of communicating and sharing information, ideas, news, stories, opinions, images and other content. “

Burgess said he otherwise kept the language of the bill loose so the DOE and school districts can refine curricula as needed. The lesson itself would be “integrated into a suitable class,” he said, “as opposed to creating a whole new class with a whole new teacher who would have to spend 100% of the time because we know (are teachers) in 100 Millions of directions drawn. “

Florida PTA Legislative Chairman Karen Mazzola and Heidi Daniels the Florida Citizens Alliance and Defend Florida appeared at the meeting to demonstrate their support for the bill.

Democratic Senator Shevrin Jones, the vice-chairman of the committee, called Burgess’ point “a good bill”. Noticing worrying social media trends like the TikTok “hit a teacherChallenge asked Jones if the curriculum under consideration was general or specific to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Discord, Twitch and Omegle.

Burgess said he hoped the lessons addressed everything, which is why local input is vital.

“I have a hard time talking to my growing children about these risks, so I think this education is set not only by law but also at the school level to ensure that all students of all ages are covered in all areas.” And has this unified approach to a cultural and societal problem, ”he said. “The things our children are exposed to are worrying. Children are losing their innocence more and sooner every day because of the things that you can easily see when you access something online, even when they are not looking for them. That’s what this is about. “


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