Should Facebook Have an Age Limit?

Should Facebook Have an Age Limit?

In mid-December 2015 the European Union debated a law that would effectively ban every adolescent under the age of 16 from using social media without their parents’ consent. This legal provision would require Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to change their systems to adapt to the new standards for online interaction within the European continent. In the end, on December 18, the law did not pass, and the decision to establish an age limit between 13 and 16 was left to each member state. Despite that, the debate left many asking themselves whether an age limit should have been applied and where that age limit should be.

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Since 2006, Facebook has established a minimum age of 13 for the use of its services. Most social networks have followed this standard, and the world lived happily ever after. In the 2010s, questions arose regarding the alleged danger of predatory behavior from adults on adolescents using these networks. Concerned adults argue that a minimum age should be established because younger adolescents do not exercise sufficient discernment when it comes to human interaction. They essentially make the argument that teenagers are much more susceptible to the manipulation of someone much older than them.

The European Union’s mid-December proposal seemed to aim for a uniform “digital age of consent.” However, rather than making the arguments listed above, the law seemed to be concerned about the age at which people should be able to consent to having their data handled. The proposal seems to come from a direction of concern for adolescents being too young to understand the implications of data security and privacy when they agree to have their data used in any way.

Ultimately, the battle for a uniform age limit in the European Union was lost simply because member states couldn’t reach an agreement. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate arguments against the law in the first place.

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Perhaps the biggest argument against a minimum age on social media comes from the fact that although people younger than 16 may not be data security and privacy experts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their parents are. The law makes the indirect presumption that when a person reaches their 16th birthday they will understand the implications of putting an embarrassing selfie out on the Web. The massive amount of 30-somethings that do this on a daily basis begs to differ.

The law could perhaps even pose an indirect and unintended threat against its own intention. The feeling of security that parents would feel thinking that their child will not have access to social media until the age of 16 would make them complacent. In time, younger adolescents will find a way around the requirements of social networks (which historically have been difficult to enforce). This will create an environment where parents are even more oblivious about what their children are doing, worsening the situation.

Given this information, which side are you on? Do you think that setting a minimum age is wise? If so, what age should it be set at and why? Tell us in a comment!

4 comments

  1. I don’t support any rules that discriminate and stereotype older male Adults. Not all older male single adults are pedophiles or are they dangerous to under age minors. Some actually just want to be friends and be like a big brother and the last thing they have on there minds is sex or want to harm a minor. People there own ages or even within a couple of years age difference are just as gross and disrespectful and at least as dangerous or even more so dangerous then someone older. I know I’ve seen it. So as long as the younger person doesn’t share there personal information such as address and phone number, then I see no problem with having an online friend no matter what age they are. I’m really sick and tired of society demonizing and slandering all older single guys who only wish to be online friends with someone younger. Also may I add that as long as the older person doesn’t come on sexually or threaten bodily harm to the minor then no laws are being broken and it’s not against the law to just be friends only! Not ALL older guys that talk to a minor is a pedophile and wants to harm the minor!

  2. There is no minimum age. That kid signer was 10 when he had a Facebook account under his own name. They allow by proxy all kinds of hidden closeted people on the site. The cops in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida who used family names, then hunted children to get naked pictures or meet up with them. In Florida he used his niece’s identity (under 13) to get about 40 boys to pose for him that were in her school. Like all the others on the privileged list, no convictions.
    The jihad who cut off his coworkers head in Oklahoma posted 2 weeks prior to killing.
    San Bernardino couple posted 2 years prior with a known terrorist.
    Be-headings posted by terrorists groups known by FB.
    I was banned from it because I was investigating my conviction, their claim was that sex offenders were not allowed.
    I was being a responsible person by not hiding who I was or why I was on the social media.
    What about unregistered and people who use other people identities?
    The OPI problem happens all over social media when logging in and can be simple as a fake name, birth date, and a phone number from a burn phone.
    Social media needs to identify who is posting threats and flagging software should be used and tied in to responsible 3rd party.
    A committee set up to protect our First Amendment Rights while maintaining a risk evaluation tracking of hate groups and terrorist who use the media as a shield to hide behind.
    I have an idea, ask FB can they identify all their users and if they can not then WHY, do they have these policies to restrict access to the media? I bet a good percentage are criminal enterprises, terrorist, stalkers, or crazy.
    A very small percentages of the members are law biding citizens with no criminal history.
    What are the accurate numbers to this equation?

  3. The putative questions is:
    Should Facebook exist at all?
    The correct answer is: “No.”

    If you are on Facebook, you are compromised. ©2015

  4. I think there should be strict age limits on all Facebook users, current and future, whereby they have to provide three independently corroborated proofs that they are between the ages of 170 and 171 years of age.

    That would maybe give us some peace from the mindless banality perpetrated by users of FB and Twatter.

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