Parents could soon be made to approve their teenagers’ use of social media and chat apps if a last-minute change to data protection laws makes the cut in final discussions starting in the EU tomorrow.
The law would make it illegal for companies to handle data from anyone aged 15 or under without parental consent, effectively stopping young people from using their favorite services, many of which currently use 13 as the lower age limit for their services.
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According to the FT, a number of big US tech companies have now “launched a frantic lobbying effort” to stop the amendment being passed.
The law, which aims to create one piece of legislation for data protection in Europe, has already taken three years to make it through the EU’s decision-making process.
Unlike EU directives, which require national governments to create local law to reflect decisions made in Europe, this would automatically become legally binding after a two-year transitionary period.
A petition against the move has also been launched online safety campaigners, who say this decision would prevent under 16s using everything from social media platforms to online games, email and apps.
It may also encourage young people to lie about what they’re doing, or prevent them from accessing vital help services when needed, the Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Campaign said.