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Tech Trade Group Challenges Ohio Law Requiring Parental Consent for Social Media Use by Minors

A trade group representing major tech companies, including TikTok, Snapchat, and Meta, has filed a lawsuit against Ohio over a pending law that mandates parental consent for children to use social media apps. The law, embedded in an $86.1 billion state budget bill signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in July, is scheduled to become effective on January 15. Ohio’s administration presented the measure as a safeguard for children’s mental health, contending that social media is deliberately addictive and harmful to kids.

The NetChoice trade group filed the lawsuit against GOP Attorney General Dave Yost in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, aiming to prevent the law from taking effect. The legal action argues that Ohio’s law, which necessitates social media companies to obtain parental permission for children under 16 to access social media and gaming apps, violates free speech, is overly broad, and lacks clarity.

Additionally, the law mandates social media companies to furnish parents with their privacy guidelines, allowing families to understand the content that will be censored or moderated on their child’s profile. NetChoice contends that families, armed with educational resources, should decide the best approach to online services and privacy protections. The group has previously successfully challenged similar restrictions in California and Arkansas.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, a proponent of the law, criticized the legal action as “cowardly but not unexpected,” alleging that these companies aim to expose children to harmful content and addict them to their platforms, disregarding parents’ concerns. Husted further claimed that these companies are aware that their algorithms have detrimental effects on children’s health and mental well-being.

Source: The Associated Press

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