Age-Restrictions on Social Media: Do They Work?

Despite the age restrictions currently in place for creating social media accounts, shocking figures reveal that these age restrictions may in fact be useless.

A recent survey has revealed that more than three quarters of children under the age of 13 use YouTube daily despite the site declaring that one must be over 18 to create an account. YouTube and other social media accounts open up an entirely new world for children with little to no restriction on the content that they are exposed to.

Under the current age restrictions for creating accounts with Facebook and Twitter etc (13 or older), it is still very easy to set up social media accounts by a simple lie under the date of birth section on the sign-up page. So, while the recently proposed EU ban on allowing under-16s to create social media accounts may not be effective at keeping children from using the sites, it has started a debate on how we can keep the children that do use it safe.

Has telling a child that they cannot do something ever worked? Social media giants have to have age restrictions under the law, but they make it extremely easy for children signing up to lie- there is no proof of age request or age-verification technology. Perhaps this is a ploy to increase sign-ups and get kids ‘hooked’ online while still technically abiding by the law, or perhaps it is an honest lack of technical capability to detect age. Either way, the fact is that children of all ages are creating social media accounts every day and therefore it is important to ensure that they are using this safely.

To read more about the social media age-of-consent debate, click here.

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