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UK To Ban Social Media For Children Under 16, Reports Say

The UK is reportedly considering limiting social media use for children under 16 as part of an effort to protect young people from encountering harmful content online.

The government is said to be looking at different options to improve parental controls and regulate the online world, with an outright ban for under 16s being considered as one of the possibilities, according to Bloomberg.

The rules would further the requirements of the Online Safety Act, which came into effect in September after years of negotiations. The law imposes a series of responsibilities upon social media platforms, which could face fines of up to 10 per cent of their global revenue should they fail to follow them.

The government is reportedly ready to begin a review in January regarding this topic, but a formal consultation has not yet been confirmed.

“We have not definitely decided to do a consultation but we are considering it,” an official reportedly told Bloomberg. “We have not decided what will be in it.” 

Nonetheless, a government spokesperson has played down the prospect of anything resembling a full ban. 

“From our point of view, we’re looking at ways to empower parents rather than crack down on anything in particular,” they said. “We’ve identified that there is a gap in research so we’ll be looking at what more research into it needs to be done, but nothing is yet signed off by ministers.”

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The news follows a warning to parents from the National Crime Agency (NCA), which criticised Meta’s decision to introduce encrypted messages in its Facebook services. This means the company will no longer see what its users are sharing with each other, which could allow child abusers to groom children or share images with other offenders, according to the NCA.

Source: E&T


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