Blocked: Review to explore social media ban for kids

Callum Godde
Most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 but the age limit is easily circumvented
Most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 but the age limit is easily circumvented Credit: AAP

Children under 14 could be blocked from opening social media accounts, with an eminent legal eagle to investigate the feasibility of a ban.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has appointed former High Court chief justice Robert French AC to examine the legal, regulatory and technological pathways for his government to impose a ban within the state’s constitutional framework.

Under the proposal, parents would also have to give their consent for children aged 14 and 15 to access a social media account.

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“Like most parents, I am concerned about the impact social media is having on children in our community,” Mr Malinauskas said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are seeing mounting evidence from experts of the adverse impact of social media on children, their mental health and development.

“I am determined to ensure as a government we are doing everything we can to protect our children.”

Most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 to register an account, but the age limit is easily circumvented.

The proposed changes would be an Australian-first and follow legislated restrictions on children using social media accounts in Spain and the US states of Florida and Texas.

A survey of 631 parents and carers by Australian mental health organisation ReachOut in April 2023 showed 59 per cent were concerned about their teenager’s social media use.

Sonya Ryan, who founded a foundation in the name of her 15-year-old daughter Carly after she was murdered by an online predator posing as a teenage boy, said social media presents a profound risk of harm for kids.

“Children do not have the life experience or the cognitive and executive functioning to think through harmful situations online, sometimes placing themselves at real physical risk,” the Founder & CEO of The Carly Ryan Foundation

“In my opinion the only way forward is to create appropriate legislation to protect our children from these harms and regulate big tech companies to include mandatory age verification across all platforms.”

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