April 1, 2023

BEIJING BAN: Florida Republicans want to block students from this social media platform

BEIJING BAN: Florida Republicans want to block students from this social media platform

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Despite Ron DeSantis’s professed admiration for the far-right Libs of TikTok Twitter account, Florida Republicans want to ban TikTok in K-12 classrooms.

Recent reports of a “Chinese spy balloon” hovering over northern states appear to have given the proposed legislation a boost.

“With a high-altitude Chinese balloon over Montana right now, I think that this is very timely,” sponsor of SB52, Sen. Danny Burgess (R-Pasco County), said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Friday.

“I think that everybody is going to wake up and realize this needs to be done across the country.”

A House version of the bill, HB379, was introduced by Rep. Brad Yeager (R-New Port Richey) in late January, with the support of members of the DeSantis administration.

Children are the future, so I’m not sure why we would ever allow something as addicting and useless as TikTok to be allowed in our K-12 institutions. – Jimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Officer

Republicans have increased calls to ban the Chinese-owned application, raising concerns about national security.

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TikTok has become a social media favorite among millennials and Gen Z, where videos on a wide range of topics frequently grow viral.

Patronis, who hyperbolically refers to the popular app as “digital fentanyl,” asserts that TikTok “targets our children.”

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“It fills their minds with rot and robs them of normal healthy social development,” he said.

Over the past five years, social media platforms have become increasingly important in spreading messages of social justice, diversity, and human and civil rights – including TikTok.

Social justice warriors around the world have taken to the video-sharing application to amplify their respective movements.

Everything from LGBTQ issues to racial discrimination has become a way for those in marginalized, oppressed, and suppressed communities to have their voices heard.

While it’s true that students should be focused on learning, singling out TikTok specifically raises questions about whether the Florida GOP’s concern is with technological distractions during the school day – or something more nefarious.

Many schools already have protocols in place regarding cell phone use during class time.

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Banning certain sites a student chooses to go to during their lunch break or in between classes comes across as more government overreach in a state that has waged a full-scale assault on education.

Before Burgess’ bill can take effect, it must survive the Education PreK-12 Committee – whose first hearing is next week – the Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Policy Committee before being brought to the Senate floor for a full vote.

The ban would go into effect in the summer if successful.

Original reporting by A.G. Gancarski at Florida Politics. 

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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