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  • Writer's pictureAndy Mitchell

Number 10's Social Media Ban

10 Downing Street recently announced plans to restrict or ban under-16s access to social media. Government ministers have drawn up plans to add tougher age restrictions to all social media platforms, as well as stopping under-18s from purchasing their own mobile phones.

London Social Media

At the moment, this is all the information we have. However, from previous experience, we can all probably agree that this so-called ‘ban’ will not go far enough. At the moment, most social media platforms have age restrictions between 13 and 16. Meta-owned WhatsApp recently lowered its age restriction to 13! However, tens of thousands of young people below these ages still access social media. How will the government prevent a young person from putting in a different date of birth on sign up?


It's good news that the government recognises the issue of young people accessing inappropriate content and experiences through social media – the internet is the last bastion of unregulated media. However, we need to be real and understand that just banning it and putting the onus on the social media companies won’t work.


The ICO undertook some brilliant research in 2023, using data acquired between 2018 and 2020. They concluded that “our best estimate remains between 1.1 million and 1.75 million TikTok users between 8 and 12 years old as of March/April 2020.”Four years later, these numbers have likely grown, despite the minimum age for TikTok being 13.

Children on Social Media

The government’s action is welcome, but it needs to be rigorous and hold social media platforms to account. These multi-billion-dollar companies need to ensure they maintain a social responsibility for our young people. That being said, we need to educate the parents of young people so that they are protecting their children too. It simply isn’t good enough to allow your child to have carte blanche access to a mobile device, without monitoring what they’re accessing and who they’re communicating with.


Education is the key – as educators, we need to speak to as many parents as possible and educate them on the dangers, whilst giving them solutions on how to manage their child’s access to social media.


At MDM, we offer talks for staff, parents and students about how to stay safe online. These sensitively-delivered sessions can be delivered in person or remotely. Let’s take the first steps in supporting our communities to stay safe online. Contact us on info@mitchelldigitalmedia.co.uk or call us 01249 588228.

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