Tuesday 24 April 2018

Teenagers may have to get parental consent to use online services


Emma Clark

Teenagers may require parental consent to sign-up to services like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram under a proposed European Union regulation.

The European Union may push through new regulations this week that would raise the age of consent for websites to use personal data from 13 to 16.

This would mean that teenagers would require parental consent to use services such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram too. They'd also lose out on e-mail, but that's likely a less pressing concern.

The law is to be negotiated between member states today. Once the laws are agreed, they will be voted on by the European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee. The parliament will then ratify it in the New Year. Once that happens, countries have two years to implement the law.

The Diana Award Youth Board has come out in opposition to the law. It states that rather than asking parents to allow them to sign up to online services, teenagers will simply lie about their age. That seems the most likely thing to happen; after all, it's not as if everyone on these services is over the age of 13 as is.

It added, "This development would make it far more difficult for online services to offer children age-appropriate guidance and tools to ensure a safe and privacy-protective experience online."

The proposed law has been in the works for almost four years. It will be debated by politicians today before a vote on Thursday.

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