Ohio social media bill would require parental consent for kids under 16

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 2:38 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 3:51 PM EST
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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new law that would require certain online companies to obtain parental consent for kids under the age of 16 before they can open an account.

The push for the Social Media Parental Notification Act comes after Streetsboro High School Senior James Woods took his own life last year because he was the victim of sextortion.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted was joined at his Thursday news conference by State Representative Gail Pavliga and Woods’ parents Tim and Tamia Woods.

Social Media Parental Notification Act
Social Media Parental Notification Act((Source: WOIO))

Sextortion is an online crime that happens when an adult poses as a same-aged peer to convince a victim to share sexual pictures or perform sexual acts on camera.

James, 17, died on Nov. 19, 2022. He was a member of the Streetsboro High School track and cross country team.

According to Streetsboro school officials, at least three of their students have been a target of sextortion this school year.

If your child has been a victim of this crime, Streetsboro police ask that you call them at 330-626-4976 or your local police agency and screenshot any information or images remaining on the phone.

School officials added they will conduct a Mental Health and Safety Summit on May 10 with the intent to educate all district parents on internet safety and other mental health-related topics.

The Woods family will also be present and will be keynote speakers for the free event.

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If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email info@nami.org.