It may come as a surprise to many parents, but Facebook and Twitter, along with other social media platforms have age restrictions for users. The Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA) dictates that the minimum age for using social networking sites in the U.K. is 13 years. However, this is rarely policed, and security measures seem to be lacklustre.
In comparison, the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the adopting of the Digital Age of Consent Bill in 2018 meant in the EU any child below 16 years could not give consent for internet companies to collect and store their data.
The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) spokesperson Gwenn O’Keeffe, cautioned parents around the dangers of social networking even after the age limit “It’s not a good idea. Since logic and sophistication reasoning does not kick in until high school, younger children may not realise one of their posts is inappropriate”.
Many parents agree with this narrative when discussing young people online. Broadening social connections becomes an insufficient argument when exposed risks include cyberbullying, sexting, and ‘Facebook depression’.