Are We About To Be Banned From The Internet?
- Saul Smith
Next week European policymakers will finalise plans to increase the age of consent for internet access Could this be the end of social media for young teens?
So, Christmas is nearly here. Yay, I know! And everyone is in anticipation about what might be under the Christmas tree. I know that I’m getting an iPhone which will definitely be an upgrade from my Samsung that has no internet. I’m not going to lie to you, I have been looking forward to joining my friends and jumping on Instagram and Snapchat for some time now.
That was until during my work experience, here at Live Magazine, I was shown this:
“European policymakers have been debating the text of the new General Data Protection Regulation and are expected to finally reach agreement next week. But at the last minute, these policymakers changed the age of consent for children to access the Internet (“information society services”) from 13 to 16. This would mean that children under the age of 16 in Europe would no longer be able to use services like search engines, social media, apps, and diverse online support services without getting their parents’ consent.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this. I was finally getting an iPhone and now there was a potential I wouldn’t be able to download the apps I really wanted, without asking my mum. Just my luck.
“The internet can be a real lifeline for many…”
I was even more annoyed when I found out that these so called policymakers had not consulted anybody that this rule would affect, not even parents! They have also chosen not to disclose the reasoning behind the decision, which I find rather strange.
Changing the age of consent is not going to help anyone at all, in fact, I think it will do the opposite.
Firstly it will encourage young people to lie about their age online, which could open up a whole world of explicit content.
More importantly, this will prevent young people under the age of 16 from seeking help and advice relating to important issues. The internet can be a real lifeline for many and it is the first destination many young people search for advice regarding a number of issues, from being a victim of bullying or abuse to LGBT support services
For me, this policy will take away fundamental rights and see us disconnected from the rest of the world. On a more basic note, it’s just incredibly unfair.
I hope this policy will be reviewed and scrapped and you can sign this petition if you agree it should not be passed.