Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Experts want children over 13 to have free access to Facebook

16 May 2018

Prague, May 15 (CTK) - The Czech parliament should keep the minimum age limit of 13 years for children's access to Facebook and other social networks without their parents' consent, which the Interior Ministry proposed, experts said at a conference on law and children in cyber space held in the Senate on Tuesday.

Representatives of the National Centre for Safer Internet, the Czech Council of Children and Youth and the CZ.NIC association of Internet services providers opposed the government's plan to raise this age limit to 15 years.

On the contrary, Senate constitutional-legal committee chairman Miroslav Antl (Social Democrats, CSSD) tends to support the age limit of 15 years, which is the same as criminal liability.

Jiri Prusa, from the association of the Internet services provides, criticised the proposal as absurd.

Jiri Palyza, from the National Centre for Safer Internet, says children from the age of eight are active on social networks, according to his experience from schools.

"At least a half of children give a false birth date when opening their Facebook accounts, and so they have it before turning 13 anyway," he said. It is very difficult to check the age of the social network users, he pointed out.

The Czech Council of Children and Youth has found out among members of its organisations that they would like to preserve the age limit of 13, which is now required by the social network providers, council chairman Ales Sedlacek said.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) new EU rules enable the member states to choose the age limit for children to agree with their personal data processing without their parents' consent between 13 and 16 years.

The EU regulation takes effect on May 25.

However, the respective implementing law will not be passed in the Czech Republic by then, so the current age limit of 16 years will remain valid in the country, experts said.

At present, the circumventing of the minimal age condition means the violation of the rules of the respective network, but under the GDPR, this will be qualified as an illegal conduct.

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