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New proposal seeks to have Ohio parents sign consent forms for social media access for children

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Feb 08, 2023

On Wednesday, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced he is "championing" a new proposal that would require parents to verify their children are allowed to use social media platforms.

Specifically, the proposal would: "Require certain online companies to obtain verifiable parental consent to contractual terms of service before permitting kids under the age of 16 to use their platforms," according to Husted's Office.

It's called the Social Media Parental Notification Act.

According to the Lt. Gov., the act would require the following:

  • Companies must:

  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 via the splash page, the following methods can be used for verification:

  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

  • Who this includes:
    • Social media and online gaming/activities companies: Facebook (Meta), Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.
  • Who this does NOT include:
    • E-commerce: Online shopping

If a parent or legal guardian fails or refuses to consent to the terms of service, the company must deny access or use of the online website, online service, online product, or online feature by the child.

If approved by the Ohio Legislature, and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, social media companies would have three months to comply with the act.

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