DeWine calls on Congress to deal with children, social media

(The Center Square) – Gov. Mike DeWine wants Congress to protect children from social media after a federal judge stopped Ohio from enacting a law that requires parental consent.

DeWine believes Judge Algenon Marbley’s preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by a group representing tech companies means Congress needs to establish a national law to require parental consent for children under 16.

“There is overwhelming evidence that social media has a negative effect on the mental health of minors, including increases in depression and suicide-related behavior,” DeWine said. “The Social Media Parental Notification Act remains a reasonable, clear, narrowly tailored, and, I believe, lawful approach to provide safeguards and parental guidance. I am disappointed in today’s ruling by the District Court and respectfully disagree with it. Since the federal courts are interpreting federal constitutional law as preventing the state of Ohio from protecting Ohio’s children, then Congress needs to act to protect our country’s children.”

Marbley sided with NetChoice’s argument the law creates an undue burden on social media app users. The law will remain on hold while the lawsuit goes through the courts.

NetChoice represents TikTok, Snapchat, Meta and other tech companies.

The law, originally scheduled to go into effect Jan. 15, was paused with a temporary restraining order in early January.

It would require social media operators and sites that sell things or provide a service to children to get parental consent before establishing accounts for children under 16.

As previously reported by The Center Square, when consent is given, the operators must then send written confirmation of the account to the parent or legal guardian and provide a list of censoring or content modification features.

When operators don’t provide notification or a parent wishes to stop a child’s access, parents can contact the website operator, which then has 30 days to end the child’s access.

The new law does not require operators to notify parents of accounts created before Jan. 15.

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