A federal judge in Ohio has thwarted efforts by state lawmakers to help parents protect their children from the harms of addictive social media.

Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, a Bill Clinton appointee, on Monday sided with the tech industry trade group NetChoice, which claims the Social Media Parental Notification Act approved by the legislature in July violates minors’ free speech rights, WBNS reports.

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The ruling extends a preliminary injunction issued last month that blocked the law from taking effect on Jan. 15, with Marbley finding NetChoice is likely to prevail on its First Amendment claims. NetChoice, which represents companies including TikTok, Snapchat, Meta, X, YouTube and others, argues the law is “not narrowly tailored to” protect minors from mental health issues or sexual predators.

NetChoice has won similar lawsuits against laws enacted in Arkansas and California, and is challenging restrictions in Utah, as well, The New York Post reports.

“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.

The law would require social media companies to get “verifiable consent” from a parent before allowing anyone under the age of 16 to join a service. Proponents including Lt. Gov. Jon Husted have cited exploding rates of depression, suicide and other issues with minors tied to what Husted calls “intentionally addictive” social media algorithms.

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Both Husted and Gov. Mike DeWine issued statements expressing their disappointment and frustrations with Marbley’s ruling.

DeWine pointed 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.

“It’s disappointing,” Hustead said, “but it will not deter us from our responsibility to protect children from exploitative social media algorithms that are causing a crisis of depression, suicide, bullying, and sexual exploitation among our children.

“These companies could solve this problem without passing new laws, but they refuse to do so,” he said. “Because social media companies will not be responsible, we must hold them accountable.”

Marbley took issue with the law’s approach and carveouts, citing exceptions for “established” and “widely recognized” new media without defining those terms, and blocks on minors for product reviews but not service or art reviews.

“A product review website is excepted, but a book or film review website, is presumably not,” he wrote. “The State is therefore favoring engagement with certain topics, to the exclusion of others.”

“The approach is an untargeted one, as parents must only give one-time approval for the creation of an account, and parents and platforms are otherwise not required to protect against any of the specific dangers that social media might pose,” Marbley wrote.

Chris Marchese, head of the NetChoice Litigation Center, applauded “the district court’s thoughtful opinion upholding the First Amendment and decision to prevent regulators from violating the free speech and online privacy rights of Ohioans and their kids as our case proceeds.

“This is the fourth ruling NetChoice has obtained, demonstrating that this law and others like it in California and Arkansas not only violate constitutional rights, but if enacted, would fail to achieve the state’s goal of protecting kids online,” Marchese said. “We look forward to seeing these laws permanently struck down and online speech and privacy fully protected across America.”