Minors below the age of 16 who want to open an account in Facebook or other social media will need their parents’ permission. This according to new European data protection rules that will enter into force in 2018. According to the Belgian League of Families this would be absurd. “The European regulation is only about data protection and does not relate to education,” the League stated on its website on Tuesday (26 April).
“It is an odd mistake,” said Professor Christophe Butstraen, school mediator in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels and author of “Internet, my parents, my teachers and me.”
“It’s already now difficult to ban social media for minors under the age of 13. Raising the age restriction to 16 would only increase their desire to break the rules,” added the League. “From the age of 14 – 15, teenagers start to oppose authority.”
The League of Families calls for better media education. “We must act preventively, already from the age of 8 or 9, to ensure that minors disclose as little as possible of personal information and avoid the other dangers on the Internet.”
The Secretary of State for data protection, Bart Tommelein, intends to consult with all communities about the age at which teenagers can decide on their own on the conditions of using social media. EU member states may decide on keeping the lower age limit.