WVXU: Ohio social media law heads to court

UC children’s media expert Nancy Jennings says digital literacy is needed

A new law in Ohio, requiring a parent or legal guardian to give permission for youth under 16 years of age to use social media platforms, is now pending in federal court.

The law, called The Social Media Parental Notification Act (supported by both Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted) was set to take effect in mid-January. Both lawmakers say the law is needed due to the adverse effects on youth when allowed unfettered social media access. The law, however, is being challenged in federal court by Netchoice, which represents Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, among other tech companies.

In an opening segment of Cincinnati Edition, host Lucy May spoke to Lt. Gov. Husted, who touted the  benefits of the law. In the following segment, May spoke with Carl Szabo of Netchoice and UC’s social media expert Nancy Jennings.

Professor Jennings is the director of UC’s School of Communication, Film, and Media Studies and director of the Children's Education and Entertainment Research Lab.

“More of the emphasis should be placed on media literacy and digital literacy,” than restricting access, Jennings contends, explaining that while there are adverse elements of social media there are also many positives. 

A court date has been set for Feb. 15, 2024. 

Listen to the interview  

Featured photo at top by iStock photo/Miljan Živković

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