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Florida lawmakers considering banning TikTok from K-12 schools

The bills supported by lawmakers would also call for courses within schools to teach students about social media safety.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida lawmakers announced Wednesday their support of two bills that would require school districts in the state to deny students from going on social media, especially TikTok, while using the internet provided by the district.

The bills would also call for courses within schools to teach students about social media safety and how it can be best used in their personal and professional lives, the Department of Financial Services said in a news release.

Jimmy Patronis, chief financial officer of the department, accused TikTok of not having a good impact on students and that it should be banned in all school districts.

“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," Chief Financial Officer said in a statement. "So as schools are using more-and-more technology and parents are giving their children smartphones and other devices, Florida schools should take a hard stand that this isn’t an acceptable application to be used on school grounds."

The department said the latest announcement comes after the Florida Board of Governors proposed banning TikTok from universities and colleges in the state. At a meeting in January, the board discussed how the platform poses a privacy risk for students and certain materials at college campuses because the social media is a Chinese-based company. 

"School is a place for learning, and I will fight to ensure it stays that way," Florida State Senator Danny Burgess said in a statement. "Social media, including platforms like TikTok, are a distraction for our students and present real dangers that they may not be aware of."

TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is Chinese-owned. U.S. officials in the past have warned the Chinese government could force the company to share user data, according to CBS News.

Michael Beckerman, TikTok's head of public policy for the Americas, told CBS News that the concern is overstated. He said the app collects fewer data than other apps and is working to move user data to U.S.-based servers.

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