In response to the growing concern over the ease with which children can access social media, rallying calls have been made for platforms to increase the minimum age requirement to correspond with the digital age of consent. In Ireland, while the digital age of consent is 16, platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok allow users as young as 13 to create profiles, exposing them to various online risks including cyberbullying and inappropriate content.
A member of the Oireachtas Media Committee, Deputy Cannon, highlighted the importance of ensuring online safety for minors and holding social media companies accountable. The Deputy emphasized the noteworthy gap between the age for creating social media profiles and the age at which companies can legally collect personal data without parental permission.
As part of the efforts to safeguard teenagers, TikTok has taken measures by setting a 60-minute screen time limit for users under 18 by default. European Union regulations require users to be at least 16 years of age to sign up for services like WhatsApp, with some member states setting even higher age limits.
Research by CyberSafeKids has unveiled that a significant portion of children under the age of 12 possesses personal social media or messaging accounts, despite the current age restrictions. This has led to Deputy Cannon to suggest the idea of summoning social media enterprises to the Oireachtas media committee for further discussions on age verification and safety measures.
Meanwhile, the mother of the late Brianna Ghey, following a tragic incident linked to online content, has called for stricter online safety measures in the UK. The rising voices advocate for enhanced protective barriers and regulatory scrutiny to bridge the gap between the digital consent age and the age at which children are currently allowed to participate in social media.
FAQ Section Based on Main Topics and Information Presented in the Article
1. What is the digital age of consent and how does it relate to social media use by children?
The digital age of consent is the age at which a person is considered old enough to consent to the data collection and processing done by online services without needing parental permission. For Ireland, this age is set at 16 years.
2. What are the current age restrictions for social media platforms in Ireland?
Platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok permit users as young as 13 to create profiles, notwithstanding the digital age of consent being 16 in Ireland.
3. Why is there concern about the current age restrictions?
There is concern because children are exposed to various online risks, such as cyberbullying and access to inappropriate content, at a young age.
4. What has Deputy Cannon proposed in light of the differences between age restrictions and the digital age of consent?
Deputy Cannon of the Oireachtas Media Committee suggested bringing social media companies before the committee to discuss age verification and safety measures.
5. What steps has TikTok taken to protect underage users?
TikTok has implemented a 60-minute screen time limit for users under 18 as a default setting.
6. Are the EU regulations on social media sign-up age different from Ireland’s digital age of consent?
EU regulations require a minimum sign-up age of 16 for services like WhatsApp, though some member states have set even higher age limits.
7. What has research by CyberSafeKids found regarding children and social media?
Research has shown that a significant portion of children under 12 have personal social media or messaging accounts, despite the age restrictions.
8. How has the tragic incident involving Brianna Ghey influenced the discussion on online safety?
Brianna Ghey’s mother has called for stricter online safety measures in the UK, highlighting the need for stronger protective barriers and regulatory scrutiny.
Definitions for Key Terms or Jargon Used Within the Article
– Digital Age of Consent: The established legal age at which a child can agree to have their personal data collected and processed by online services without needing parental oversight.
– Cyberbullying: The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
– Oireachtas: The national legislature of Ireland, encompassing the President of Ireland and two houses: the House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann) and the Senate (Seanad Éireann).
– Screen Time Limit: A control setting that restricts the amount of time a user can spend on a device or specific applications.
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