Ohio Blocked from Enforcing Law Cracking Down on Children’s Use of Social Media

On Monday, a federal judge ordered that the state of Ohio be blocked from implementing a new law that forbids children from using social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, without first getting their parents’ consent.

As reported by the New York Post, the ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, based out of Columbia, sided with tech companies who claimed that such a restriction was in violation of their First Amendment rights. The law would have applied to all children under the age of 16.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R-Ohio) argued in favor of the law, the Social Media Parental Notification Act, which was passed by the state legislature in July as part of a broader nationwide effort to protect children from the harmful effects of social media addiction. But Judge Marbley ultimately agreed with the arguments presented by the advocacy group NetChoice, which represents such social media companies as TikTok, X (the platform formerly known as Twitter), YouTube, and Facebook, which owns Instagram. Marbley ruled that the Ohio law was “not narrowly tailored to those ends” of protecting children.

“Foreclosing minors under sixteen from accessing all content on websites that the Act purports to cover, absent affirmative parental consent, is a breathtakingly blunt instrument for reducing social media’s harm to children,” Marbley wrote in his ruling. The judge’s decision puts the law on hold indefinitely as legal action continues.

Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) disagreed with the ruling, pointing to “overwhelming evidence that social media has a negative effect on the mental health of minors, including increases in depression and suicide-related behavior.”

“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,” DeWine said in a statement.

Similar legislation was defeated in the courts last year in both Arkansas and California, and another law is currently being challenged in Utah. In all three cases, NetChoice is the main advocate for the social media companies.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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