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The French government is worried about tech-addicted teens | natureaddict/Pixabay
The French government is worried about tech-addicted teens | natureaddict/Pixabay
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It May Now Be Harder for French Kids to Open Up a Facebook Account

Picture of Alex Ledsom
Updated: 19 December 2017
The French government is currently passing a law that requires children under the age of 16 to have parental approval before opening a Facebook account. These new laws come in light of government concern over the impact of technology on its teenagers.

Under-16s will have to declare they have parental permission to open an account

Under new laws, which have been approved by the French cabinet, teenagers under 16 years of age will have to tick a box to declare that they have their parents’ permission to open an account. Facebook requires its users to be over the age of 13, but many younger kids sign up by simply filling in a different date of birth.

The Facebook law is part of a wider crackdown on teenagers’ use of technology in general
The Facebook law is part of a wider crackdown on teenagers’ use of technology in general | © geralt/Pixabay

The declaration will be legally binding

The legislation must still go through Parliament before it becomes law. No one is sure how it will work in practice, but the declaration will become legally binding, meaning that it will have to be enforced. Social media sites would have to verify the age of its younger French users in a valid way.

The government is worried about the amount of time teenagers spend on their phones and the culture this creates
The government is worried about the amount of time teenagers spend on their phones and the culture this creates | © Adam Jang/Unsplash

It’s part of a wider plan to crackdown on younger teenagers’ use of technology

The government is worried about how much teenagers use their mobile phones, particularly at school. Children are currently not allowed to use their phones in classrooms but there is still concern over how much they are using them during breaks. The government has stated that kids are not socialising during break time and worries about the possible long-term side-effects technology use may have on its younger generations.

The impact of social media on teenagers is a concern for the French government
The impact of social media on teenagers is a concern for the French government | © William Ivan/Unsplash

And a new law has now completely banned phones from high schools

A complete ban on smartphones for kids aged 11-15 was recently introduced in high schools – a ban President Macron had pledged to enforce when he was elected. Teenagers over 16, in Collège, can still use their mobile phones freely. While the idea of banning phones (except in emergency use) has received support, it isn’t really clear how it will be enforced by teachers. The new rules will start at the beginning of the new school year.

Facebook users must declare they have parental permission if they are under 16 years of age
Facebook users must declare they have parental permission if they are under 16 years of age | © Creative Commons/Pixabay

These new laws aim to update old privacy rules

The new laws being brought in by the French parliament also attempt to manage how internet companies protect the privacy of its users and, in particular, how it passes this information on to third-party users, which is particularly important in safeguarding the rights of teenagers.