Could Massachusetts Be Next? Ohio Restricts Social Media Access For Kids Under 16
Ohio kids will need their parents' permission to use social media starting next year.
Governor Mike DeWine signed off on The Social Media Parental Notification Act last week. The law will go into effect Jan. 15.
How Is Ohio Restricting Social Media Content?
According to Cincinnati's WKRC, kids under the age of 16 will need to get permission from a parent or guardian before starting to use social media apps.
A simple verbal OK, however, won't be enough for the child to sign up for social media apps like TikTok, Snapchat or Facebook.
WKRC reports that parents or guardians will need to consent by signing a digital form. A government-issued ID or credit card will be used to verify the signature.
The sign-off doesn't give the child free rein. Parents and guardians will be able to control app usage and restrict content as needed.
Some of the responsibility will also be on the companies who own the social media platforms.
According to a press release from DeWine's office, 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
"It is a fact that tech companies are targeting children with addictive algorithms on social media, and it is negatively affecting their physical and media health," Lt. Governor Jon Husted said in a released statement. "This new law gives parents a greater say in if, how and when their children use these platforms."
Online shopping apps and websites are not included in the ban as part of the new law.
What Other States Are Restricting Social Media Access?
Ohio is not the only state to crack down on social media use among the younger demographic.
The Associated Press reports that both Utah and Arkansas have enacted their own laws centered on kids using the internet and social media.
So far, there's no sign of a ban for minors in Massachusetts, though lawmakers are discussing potentially banning TikTok on government devices. An April survey of Boston.com readers revealed that 67% of respondents are in favor of social media restrictions for Bay State teens.
The Associated Press reports the issue also is potentially being addressed at the national level.
A bipartisan bill is gaining traction that not only calls for age restrictions but also for social media companies to be prohibited from using algorithms from suggesting content to underage users.
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