Will Ohio require parental consent for social media platforms?

Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 9:52 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2023 at 11:59 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted held a news conference Monday morning to discuss the Social Media Parental Notification Act.

The Social Media Parental Notification Act would require certain online companies to obtain parental consent before kids under the age of 16 can use their platforms.

The evidence is building that social media platforms can have a negative impact on kids’ mental health and well-being,” said Governor DeWine. “In addition, social media platforms can expose kids to predators who want to exploit them. If teens must get parental consent when they see an R-rated movie because of exposure to inappropriate content, it only makes sense that parents give kids permission to have social media accounts.”

Under the proposal, 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 if the user is under the age of 16

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

“The Surgeon General and children’s health experts have concluded that these platforms are responsible for negative physical and mental health outcomes for a generation of our children and it is our responsibility to protect them by holding social media companies accountable for the consequences of what happens on their platforms,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Requiring social media companies to get parental approval before children under 16 have access to these addictive platforms is one way we can help parents protect their children.”

Representatives from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services were also at the news conference.

For tips on how to talk to your children about social media and mental health the group On Our Sleeves has a list of conversation starters.