South Australia moves to ban social media for children

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 14 May 2024
Peter Malinauskas

South Australia premier Peter Malinauskas has appointed former High Court chief justice Robert French to examine how the state could implement a social media ban for children under 14.

In what would be an Australian-first, the government’s policy would also require parental consent for children aged 14 and 15.

Currently major social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, require users to be at least 13 years old to sign up for accounts, however the age limit is not policed.

Malinauskas, a father to four children, said the new push had come from mounting concern among experts and the community about the adverse impact of social media on children.

“Like most parents, I am concerned about the impact social media is having on children in our community,” Malinauskas said.

“We are seeing mounting evidence from experts of the adverse impact of social media on children, their mental health and development.

“I am determined to ensure as a government we are doing everything we can to protect our children.”

The push follows a growing number of global jurisdictions banning social media access for children.

In March this year, the US state of Florida legislated to ban social media accounts for children under 14, and requiring parental permission for 14 and 15 year-olds, while Texas has legislated to require parental consent before allowing a user under the age of 18 to open an account. Spain also bans children under 14 from accessing a social network.

Social media is a hot topic of debate in Australia currently, with Meta’s decision to abandon the News Media Bargaining code and the eSafety commissioner ordered X and Meta to remove violent videos following Sydney church stabbing.

The federal government is now setting up a parliamentary committee to investigate social media.

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