TikTok banned in Florida schools ahead of new school year

TikTok ban official after Florida Board of Education decision
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2023 at 9:55 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Schools across Florida are cracking down on K-12 students using TikTok this upcoming school year. A new law bans the social media app on school-owned devices and WiFi networks.

A Pew Research Center study shows TikTok is the second most popular social media site, with 67% of teens saying they use TikTok, and 16% using it almost constantly.

But Florida teens won’t be able to use it during school.

Many governments across the U.S., including the federal government, are banning the social media app because of its connection to the Chinese government. Some universities in Florida, including Florida A&M and Florida State, already banned the video sharing app on campuses earlier this year.

But central Florida attorney Matthew Dolman says other reasons exist for banning TikTok in schools.

“We are seeing a generation of young adults who are having mental health issues that we never saw before,” Dolman said.

Dolman represents families suing social media sites over those mental health issues. He said he welcomes the state banning TikTok from school devices.

“We have a generation of young adults who are shaping their self-worth and the way they view society through the lens of social media,” Dolman said.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar agreed something needs to be done about kids using social media, but he doesn’t think this new law is the answer because kids can still access TikTok.

“Most districts already have filters in place that don’t allow kids on social media in our schools using district WiFi,” Spar said.

Instead, he said he’d rather see laws to help fight cyberbullying, knowing schools can’t do it alone.

“I think it is going to take the entire community. From internet providers to social media companies, to the community to parents to schools all working together to address the crisis we are starting to see,” Spar said.

The law also allows schools to ban students from using their cell phones at school.

A new law also bans TikTok from state-owned devices. Florida is one of 34 states with a similar policy.