Articles tagged "WhatsApp"

I want a Facebook / Snapchat / Instagram account, please


First there is a conversation/demand about wanting a smartphone and then comes the next maybe even more difficult discussion - I want a Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram account, please.

The minimum age for most social media platforms is 13 years old. The use of 13 years old was put in place not to limit children’s exposure to inappropriate content but because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prevents companies from collecting certain information from under 13s. This being said I believe that 13 years old is a good minimum age when discussing access to the powerful possibilities of social media with children. WhatsApp recently changed the minimum age for use of their platform to 16 for users in Europe.

All social media platforms come with terms and conditions which are agreed to as part of the creation of a account. The Children’s Commissioner in the United Kingdom has produced simplified terms and conditions statements for Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube. These are well worth reading and discussing with your children, if are talking about the creation of social media accounts or if they already have them. The relevant webpage is here - please note that the WhatsApp resource does not reflect the recent change in minimum age to 16.

My advice is always to discuss social media platforms and accounts with your children, rather than just saying NO. A discussed, known about account is far easier to monitor and influence than one that is a secret!

Reference: What age should my kids be before I let them use Instagram, Facebook, and other social media services?


Should under 16s be using WhatsApp?

WhatsApp Terms of Service

You may have seen this ‘Updated Terms Of Service And Privacy Policy’ pop up recently when you have been using WhatsApp. All WhatsApp users in ‘the European Region’ will be seeing it and the key thing to note is the change in minimum age. WhatsApp has changed the rules - if you live in the European Region you need to be 16 to legally use WhatsApp. For the rest of the World users should at least be 13 years old unless countries require a greater age.

If you live in a country in the European Region, you must be at least 16 years old to use our Services or such greater age required in your country to register for or use our Services. If you live in any other country except those in the European Region, you must be at least 13 years old to use our Services or such greater age required in your country to register for or use our Services. Source

Thoughts for parents and educators

How are you approaching this change with your children? Have you just ignored it? After all WhatsApp is a useful messaging app that many family use to stay in contact with each other... Does ignoring this regulation send a negative message to your child? Why might you enforce age restrictions when it comes to films or computer games but not in this occasion? Is that a mixed message?

More on the issue can be found here

BBC News - WhatsApp to raise minimum age limit to 16 in EU [25 April 2018]
Childnet International - Age Restrictions on Social Media Services [25 April 2018]