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Parental consent for social media law praised in Ohio

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(The Center Square) – Behavioral and children’s advocacy groups around Ohio are praising part of the state’s new budget that includes a new law that requires parental notification for social media use.

The Social Media Parental Notification Act requires certain online companies to get verifiable parental consent to terms of services before children under age 16 can use their social media platforms.

It also requires companies to give parents privacy guidelines to show what will be censored or moderated on their child’s profile.

“It is a fact that tech companies are targeting children with addictive algorithms on social media, and it is negatively affecting their physical and mental health,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “This new law gives parents a greater say in if, how and when their children use these platforms.”

The law covers social media and online gaming companies like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and others. E-commerce and online shopping apps do fall under the new law.

The law requires companies to:

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

2. Obtain verifiable parental or legal guardian consent

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

If the user indicates that they are under the age of 16 on the splash page, verification can come from:

1. Sign a digital form consenting to the terms of service

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

3. Call a toll-free telephone number

4. Connect to trained personnel via video-conference

5. Check a form of government-issued identification

“This legislation champions youth mental health by combatting rising social media addiction and exposure to unsafe content. In the wake of new data linking popular social media apps to negative health outcomes, Ohio is already stepping up and responding to create safer spaces for kids on social media,” Sarah LaTourette, chief advocacy officer for the Ohio Children’s Alliance, said.

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