Florida bans social media for children under 14

The US state of Florida under the conservative Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has passed a law banning children under 14 from having user accounts on social media. Children under 16 will require parental consent. The move has prompted a discussion about child protection and data security in Europe's press.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

An important protective measure

In the UK too, social media should be banned as soon as possible for children under 16, says The Daily Telegraph:

“In the UK, teen suicides have doubled for boys and trebled for girls. Hospital admissions for self-harm have rocketed. Anxiety and depression are crippling a generation of young people, as evidenced by the record number signed off work. There is compelling evidence that the rise of smartphones and social media do not just coincide with the collapse in child mental health; they are its cause. ... If we don't protect children from smartphones and social media, the future for them – and for the whole of society - is bleak.”

Kurier (AT) /

Platform operators tolerate kids' accounts

Social media companies won't take the protection of minors seriously on their own initiative, says Kurier:

“At best the platforms are a time-waster, at worst a serious addiction. Adults must know how to handle them on their own. But children need adequate protection. ... Currently the rules for children and young people exist only in theory, not in practice. On Tiktok you're supposed to be at least twelve years old, on Instagram at least 13, but this is nothing more than a pious wish on the part of the platform operators. Because there is no control over whether someone enters false data. ... The companies are aware of the problem but are not taking any serious steps to introduce some kind of compulsory ID mechanism. It would also mean giving up millions of anonymous accounts.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

The wrong people in charge of our data

TikTok and other platforms pose major risks for Europe, entrepreneur Fabrice Zerah comments in Le Figaro:

“We must not forget that 92 percent of European data is stored in the US. ... And it is worth remembering that TikTok's parent company ByteDance is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, and that consequently 15 million French users have handed over their personal data to one of the world's most authoritarian dictatorships. The upshot is that Europe no longer has full control over its resources. If it wanted to, for example, the US could cut off Europe's access to the Internet. Far-fetched? Not if you recall candidate Trump's recent threat to his 'non-paying' Nato allies.”