For Immediate Release – Mon, April 16, 2018
Digital Age of Consent considered tomorrow
– “Dáil must listen to parents”
Government & opposition parties are about to set the age at which our children can enter agreements with social media companies like Facebook, without parental consent, at 13.
They will debate the Data Protection Bill when the Dáil resumes on Tuesday April 17th, after the Easter Break. The Bill has already been passed by the Seanad at the end of March.
Digital Age of Consent is part of that Bill. The article reads as follows:
Consent of child in relation to information society services 30.
(1) The age of a child specified for the purposes of Article 8 is 13 years of age.
If this Bill is passed by the Dáil without amendment to this article, Ireland will be setting the age at which children can enter such agreements, without their parent’s consent, at the lowest age in Europe.
This is despite a recent online poll in Journal.ie (http://www.thejournal.ie/digital-age-consent-poll-3852838-Feb2018/showing that 84% of the public respondents do not support it. It is also against the advice of leading cyberpsychology expert Mary Aiken, CARI, Galway and Roscommon Children and Young People's Services Committees and The Garda Síochana.
Preceding the Dáil consideration of the Bill, Fingal Independent Representative, Glenn Brady, today said:
“ The Seanad did not consult parents, nor did the select committee. They must amend this article in the Dáil now to protect our children. The Dáil must listen to parents.The EU standard is 16 years of age. Our children are vulnerable due to social media and communication apps. GP's across the country are seeing a huge surge in the number of children with depression and anxiety caused by social media & online bullying. If this Bill is passed by the Dáil, without setting the age at least at 16, it will leave our children defenceless. ”
The revelations of the abuse of people’s private details by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica prove these companies only care about profit. TD’s now have the chance to prove they care more about our children. We need to stop the lowering of the digital age of consent to 13 now.”