EU may take teens off social media
Those under the age of 16 could be banned from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and e-mail if they do not have parental permission, under last-minute changes to EU laws. The European parliament is on the verge of pushing through new regulations that would raise the age of consent for websites to use personal data from 13 to 16.It would mean that many teenagers would be forced to seek permission from parents whenever signing up to a social media account, downloading an app or even using search engines.The law, due to be voted on Thursday, would cause a major headache for social media companies.Failing to comply with the new legislation would mean fines of up to 4% of a company's turnover.The proposed rule comes as part of a major overhaul of data protection laws designed to create a single set of rules for the EU. It has been in the works for almost four years and will be debated by politicians today before the vote.The Diana Award Youth Board in the UK, which aims to protect children from bullying, attacked the move."Children aged 13 and above have long accessed online services."An artificial and sudden change to this threshold will likely result in many children between the ages of 13 and 15 lying about their ages in order to continue accessing online services ," it said."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," it added.