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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Ohio law limiting children’s social media use halted by US judge


In a recent development, a‌ federal judge​ in Columbus, Ohio, has halted the enforcement of a new law that mandates social media giants like Meta Platform’s Instagram and ByteDance’s TikTok to secure⁢ parental approval before permitting children ⁤under 16 to ⁣use their services.

Chief U.S. District‍ Judge Algenon Marbley, based in Columbia, sided with NetChoice, a tech industry trade association, asserting ​that the law infringes on the ‌free speech rights of minors as protected by‍ the First ​Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions that have⁤ obstructed state laws aimed at safeguarding‍ young internet users. These decisions come at a time when federal and⁢ state legislators⁢ are exploring ways ​to ⁣mitigate the ‍potential harm social⁢ media can inflict on the mental well-being of children.

Dave Yost, Ohio’s Republican attorney general, had defended the state’s Social Media Parental Notification Act, passed in July, as a legitimate effort‍ to shield minors from mental health ‍risks and sexual‍ predators.

However, Judge Marbley concurred‌ with NetChoice, whose‌ membership includes TikTok, Elon Musk’s⁤ X, Alphabet’s YouTube, and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram.‌ He​ stated that the law was “not narrowly tailored‌ to those ends.”

He further commented, “Barring minors under ⁣16 from accessing all content on websites that the act aims to regulate, without explicit parental consent, is an excessively broad approach to mitigating the harm social media can cause to children.”

The ruling on Monday has indefinitely suspended Ohio’s law while the lawsuit⁤ proceeds. This ​follows⁤ the⁤ judge’s order last month that temporarily ‌prevented the law‍ from coming into⁤ effect on Jan. 15 as planned.

Ohio’s Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, expressed⁢ disappointment ​at the ruling. He pointed to the “overwhelming evidence that social media has ⁣a⁢ detrimental impact on the mental⁤ health of minors, including increases in depression⁢ and suicide-related behavior.”

He further stated, “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.”

Last​ year, NetChoice succeeded ​in obtaining court rulings that blocked a⁣ similar social media parental‌ consent law ⁤in Arkansas and ‍a children’s​ digital privacy law in ⁤California. The ‍group is ‌also contesting restrictions implemented in Utah.

Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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  1. Disagree. Protecting children from potential online dangers should always be a priority, even if it means limiting their social media use.


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