UPDATED: Teenagers won't need parental consent to access Facebook, Instagram

The European Union will debate at length a proposed regulation that will make it compulsory for teenagers to seek parental consent before signing up for online services.

The online services will include all social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram and e-mail and the new regulation seeks to make it easier for the owners of these services to curate age-appropriate content for these teenagers. As of now, the required age for parental consent is 13 and the new law seeks to raise it to 16.


The proposed move to force teenagers up to the age of 16 to take parental consent for accessing online services has been scrapped. Instead, member states of the European Union will now be able to choose their own limit between 13 and 16 years.

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However, the real picture isn't too cosy and is sure to backfire, says the Diana Award Youth Board. The Board maintains that instead of asking their parents for permission, teenagers may simply lie about their age to sign in to online services and will thus be exposed to content that are considered inappopriate for their age.

Social media platforms will also be hard pressed to offer curated content if they don't know if a user is actually a teenager or not.

"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," said the Board.

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The proposal for parental consent has been under deliberation for over four years and is set for a vote come Thursday. If all the member states of the European Union agree to the laws, the European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee will vote on it. Once ratified in the New Year, the law will need to be made applicable by all the countries in the next two years.

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