European lawmakers are considering a modification to the European Data Protection Regulation which would ultimately kick a majority of teenage users off of social media. If passed, the regulation would require teens under the age of 16 to get parental consent in order to participate on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites. The regulation is currently set at age 13.
Members from various online safety organizations around the world are concerned about the impact the regulation would have on European youths. “I worry about the implications that this policy could have on our ‘global village,’ where we need youth to be involved in cross-border conversations to solve some the world’s most critical challenges including global terrorism and climate change, Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely.org, writes on Huffington Post. “I worry that it could actually endanger and disenfranchise young people at the very time when we should be doubling down on their engagement in social media and world events,” he added.
In an open letter on Medium, Janice Richardson, expert to ITU and the Council of Europe, former coordinator of European Safer Internet network, Luxembourg, points out how several topics, such as child development and online support services should be discussed before a change is considered. She writes, “Either the negotiators should re-open the debate in order that experts like ourselves, but also parent organization, educators and young people themselves, can participate, or they should revert to the previously agreed age of 13.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the new law is expected to be signed on Tuesday, December 15.
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