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  • Press Release

Ohio Leaders Respond to Court Decision Temporarily Blocking Social Media Parental Notification Act



Law was to go into effect January 15, 2024

 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted released the following statements after Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley, the United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, granted tech lobbying group NetChoice’s request to temporarily stop the Social Media Parental Notification Act from being enforced beginning January 15 while their request for a preliminary injunction is pending. NetChoice represents Meta and other social media giants.

 

“I supported the Social Media Parental Notification Act because parents should have a role in their children’s social media use," said Governor DeWine. “The negative effects that social media sites and apps have on our children’s mental health have been well documented, and this law was one way to empower parents to have a role in their kids’ digital lives. I am disappointed in this injunction and hope it will be lifted as the case further proceeds so these important protections for children can take effect.”

 

“I’m very disappointed in today’s ruling,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “The big-tech companies behind this lawsuit were included in the legislative process to make sure the law was clear and easy to implement, but now they claim the law is unclear. They were disingenuous participants in the process and have no interest in protecting children."

 

The Social Media Parental Notification Act requires certain online companies to obtain verifiable parental consent to contractual terms of service before permitting kids under the age of 16 to use their platforms. This proposal was championed by Lt. Governor Husted, passed by the General Assembly, and signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine as part of the 2023-24 executive budget and was to take effect on January 15, 2024.

 

The law also includes a requirement for companies to provide parents with their privacy guidelines to show them what will be censored or moderated content on their child’s profile.

 

About the Social Media Parental Notification Act:

 

    Companies must:

        Create a method to determine whether the user is a child under the age of 16.

        Obtain verifiable parental or legal guardian consent.

        Send written confirmation of the consent to the parent or legal guardian.

 

    If the user indicates that they are under the age of 16, the following methods can be used for verification:

        Sign a digital form consenting to the terms of service.

        Use a credit card, debit card, or other online payment system.

        Call a toll-free telephone number.

        Connect to trained personnel via video-conference.

        Check a form of government-issued identification.

 

    Who this includes:

        Social media and online gaming/activities companies accessed by children

    Who this does NOT include:

        E-commerce: Online shopping

        Media outlets

 

If a parent or legal guardian fails or refuses to consent to the terms of service, the company must deny access or use of the online website, online service, online product, or online feature by the child. In cases in which operators fail to provide notification or a parent wishes to terminate a child's access, parents should contact the website operator who then has 30 days to terminate the child’s access. If parents are unsuccessful in the account being deleted, they are encouraged to file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at OhioProtects.org.

 

For more information, read the full text here.

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