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Australian PM Supports Proposal to Ban Children Under 14 from Social Media

Children on Social media

Moves to ban children under 14 from social media have been praised by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. This proposal, initiated by South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas, involves appointing a former High Court chief justice to explore legal pathways for enforcing the ban. Additionally, children aged 14 and 15 would require parental consent to access social media accounts.

Albanese, speaking north of Sydney, emphasized the important concerns parents have regarding their children’s exposure to inappropriate content and the mental health impacts of social media. He stated, “Parents are worried sick about what their kids have access to online. It is a major social issue in this country.”

Kids on Social Media

While welcoming the initiative, Albanese highlighted the importance of ensuring that any age restriction measures are effective, acknowledging concerns that age protocols might be easily circumvented.

To address this, the federal government has allocated $6.5 million in its budget to pilot “age assurance technologies.” This initiative aims to test the effectiveness of such technologies and explore their implementation to prevent children from accessing harmful online content.

Additionally, the government will use part of a $43.2 million communications package to tackle “emerging and evolving online harms.”

This includes $1.4 million earmarked for the office of the online safety watchdog over the next two years. A joint standing committee will also be established to examine the broader societal impacts of online content in Australia.

Albanese noted the pervasive concern about social media’s impact, stating, “The impact of social media — I think — is the number one topic on the sideline of football, netball and school sport on any weekend in any part of Australia.”

In a related development, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner recently lost a Federal Court bid to compel X, formerly known as Twitter, to continue hiding videos of a stabbing incident that occurred in Western Sydney.

This underscores the ongoing challenges and difficulties in regulating online content and ensuring safety for younger users.

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