Monday 19 March 2018

POLL: Should social media giants demand PPS numbers to enforce digital identification?

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In light of a disturbing case in the Irish courts this week, do tech companies or the government need to do more to protect children from online predators?

The details of the case involving a Dublin man who coerced children as young as nine to send sexually graphic pictures through popular social media apps has caused much debate.

Matthew Horan used Skype, Snapchat, Instagram and Kik to send and receive child porn images from six identified child users in Ireland and nine unknown users around the world.

Parents have long raised concerns about the digital world and the access that it gives to their children.

In December, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke about the online age of consent.

"We agreed that the age should be 13 ... There was extensive consultation over and back and in the end we took the advice of organisations like the Children's Ombudsman, Tusla and different charities and NGOs in the sector and we went with that," the Fine Gael leader said.

Junior Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly wrote to Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty last year, asking her to examine the possibility of issuing personal codes linked to PPS numbers which would be used by users when signing up to social media accounts.

The codes would be unique to each user and would prevent predators and bullies from hiding behind a cloak of anonymity online.

Should PPS numbers be used for age verification and identification on social media

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