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Child with smartphone (symbolic photo): Creating a “digital bar”.

Photo: PhotoAlto / Anne-Sophie Bost / Getty Images

France wants to create an age limit of 13 for social media. "I want to work with the platforms on a real digital barrier to ensure that no minor under the age of 13 has access to social networks," said French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to the newspaper Le Parisien. Young people between the ages of 13 and 15 should only be able to use social media with parental permission.

France only passed a new law for social networks in mid-2023. Adolescents aged 15 and over are already only allowed to set up an account there. Social networks must implement a technical solution to prevent younger children from logging in - unless parents have consented.

For existing accounts, the platforms have two years to obtain parental consent. Guardians also have the right to request suspension of the account of their child under 15 years of age.

»Difficult construction site«

Companies also need to take stronger action against cyberbullying. You are obliged to spread prevention messages against cyberbullying and promote a helpline for such cases. Violations of the law can be punished with up to one percent of the company's global turnover.

The changes announced by Attal would further tighten these rules. In the future, registration for under-13s would be completely blocked, whether with or without parental consent. The Prime Minister was confident that he would be able to take action on the issue. “This is a very difficult but not impossible construction site,” said Attal. There is a way to achieve the goal in collaboration with platforms. Facebook or Tiktok are aware that their reputation is at stake. "You'll play along," Attal said.

Attal has been French Prime Minister since the beginning of 2024. The 34-year-old was previously Minister of Education and is considered a confidant of President Emmanuel Macron.