Your 13-year-old child on social media? It is forbidden in this place

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Your 13-year-old child on social media?  It is forbidden in this place

Your children under 14 on TikTok? In Florida you can be punished for that. A law has been passed making it a criminal offense for children under 14 to use social media. The law will not take effect until January 1, and an appeal is still expected, but it does say something: there are many people who believe that even young teenagers should stay far away from TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.

Social media and children

It is not only a lot of hassle for parents, but also for social media companies. Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and other social media must verify the age of users for all users under the age of 14 who do not have parental consent. It is also the companies that receive the penalty: this can be as much as $10,000 per case. It sounds like a lucrative model: when parents complain about how social media allows your child and then receive money. That $10,000 is for the ‘damage suffered’, while an additional $50,000 can also be added in civil fines.

It is striking news this week that WhatsApp has lowered the minimum age in Europe from 16 years to 13 years. WhatsApp also indicates that you can explain to your child how to delete his or her account if he or she is under 13 and creates an account. You can also report an account, but if WhatsApp cannot see well enough whether it is indeed a child’s account, it will still report this to the parents (where you must indicate that their child has an account, if you know them). It certainly wouldn’t get away with that in Florida if it falls under social media.

Data security

There are organizations that believe that this silences children and that no one is protected by these regulations. We can confirm this from the Netherlands: although you are not allowed to openly carry a pistol or rifle in Florida (except when going fishing or hunting), you are allowed to have a gun. If you are 18 years or older, you are allowed to have a gun in your car even without proof, as long as it is out of sight and the safety lever is in place. You don’t even need a permit for it.

Guns aside: it also means that social media platforms will have to collect much more data and there are groups that argue that this is less safe for citizens than those teenagers who go online. In short, this story will continue to grow.

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