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14 June, 2024
 
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WhatsApp's lowered age limit sparks controversy

Meta faces backlash as WhatsApp lowers age limit amid criticism from children's rights advocates

Newsroom

Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has revised its minimum age requirement for the messaging app in Europe, lowering it to 13 from 16, a move that has drawn criticism from children's rights advocates.

The new age restriction came into effect across the European Union on Thursday, following a similar announcement made for users in the UK back in February.

WhatsApp, acquired by Meta a decade ago, stated on its website that the updated age limits are now consistent globally.

Despite this, the decision to lower the age limit has stirred opposition from children's rights advocates in the UK, who argue that it exposes young people to potential harms that have been well-documented.

One such organization, Smartphone Free Childhood, based in the UK, has urged WhatsApp to reverse its new policy. Daisy Greenwell, co-founder of the organization, accused WhatsApp of prioritizing shareholder profits over children's safety.

Critics argue that the move overlooks mounting concerns voiced by scientists, doctors, educators, child safety experts, parents, and mental health specialists regarding the adverse effects of social media use on children.

Vicky Ford, a UK Member of Parliament from the ruling Conservative Party and a member of a government committee on education, condemned the decision to lower the minimum age without consulting parents as "irresponsible."

Responding to the criticism, a WhatsApp spokesperson informed CNN that the platform provides users with tools to manage their privacy, including the ability to control who can add them to groups and the option to block and report unknown accounts.

[Source: Money Review]

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