Social media is everywhere.  While it can be a great way to share moments, experiences, and good times with friends and family, it can also be a breeding ground for hate, bullying, and grooming.

A social media parental notification act was passed in Ohio and is gaining attention from other states.  Is it something that could be coming to Iowa soon?

Ohio Parental Notification Act

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On July 11, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the state operating budget.  One of the acts attached to the budget was the "Social Media Parental Notification Act" which was championed by Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

The new initiative will require online companies to obtain verifiable parental consent to contractual terms of service before permitting kids under the age of 16 to use their platforms.

"It is a fact that tech companies are targeting children with addictive algorithms on social media, and it is negatively affecting their physical and mental health," said Lt. Governor Husted. "This new law gives parents a greater say in if, how and when their children use these platforms."

In the new act in Ohio social media 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

Could Social Media Restrictions Be Coming To Iowa

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There are similarities between Ohio and Iowa.  Ohio's governor, senate, and house are all led by Republicans.  Same as Iowa.

So now that this social media notification act has passed, perhaps the one Iowa lawmakers were discussing this spring will move forward.

The original bill from lawmakers was much more restrictive than the one just passed in Ohio.  Iowans 13 and younger would not be allowed to have social media accounts.  For children 14-17 years of age, parents would need to give permission before they could use social media.

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The bill was introduced on April 10, 2023, amended on April 19, 2023, and on May 4, 2023, was "referred to Ways and Means".  This means it could be a ways before we hear about it again.

But with laws like this seeing support and passage in Ohio and Utah already, Iowa could soon be added to the list of states with social media restrictions for children.

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