Norwegian Government Looks to Tighten Social Media Age Restrictions

Social media has revolutionised the way we interact with each other and is now a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives. However, there are downsides to modern social platforms, and there is increasing evidence that they can have a harmful effect on young people. For this reason, calls to impose social media age restrictions have grown louder over the years, and the Norwegian government looks to be working towards making this a reality. Read on to find out more.

What Are the Current Rules?

At the moment, social media age restrictions exist on almost all of the major platforms, with most setting a limit of 13. However, these rules are rarely enforced in any meaningful way, resulting in large numbers of underage users on these platforms.

Research conducted in the UK revealed that up to 64% of children in the 8-11 age group used social media, with 33% of 5-7 year olds and 21% of 3-4 year olds reporting the same. What this clearly demonstrates is that existing social media age restrictions are doing very little, if anything at all to keep children off of social media platforms.

The Risks of Social Media

Social media can offer us a number of benefits. It makes it easier to connect with friends and family, and it has transformed the way in which businesses market and sell goods and services. However, social media isn’t without its risks, especially for young people using these digital platforms.

Studies conducted into the effects of social media on young people have revealed a host of risks, ranging from the potential to distract from schoolwork and exercise to increased risks of anxiety, depression and the potential exposure to harmful content.

This research clearly indicates that social media can cause harm to young people, which has been a key argument in the drive to introduce tougher social media age restrictions.

Norwegian Government Announcement

Earlier this year, the Norwegian government announced its intention to roll out tightened social media age restrictions in the Scandinavian country. Research conducted in Norway revealed extensive use of social media among young people, with concerns raised about the risks this poses and the potential harm that could be done to children’s development.

As a result, the government has clearly indicated that it aims to toughen up existing social media age restrictions, with a white paper on the debate expected to be published sometime in Autumn 2024.

What Does This Mean for Social Media Platforms?

If Norway moves ahead with an overhaul of social media age restrictions, what does this mean for the owners of these digital platforms? With user counts in the billions, social media channels must look for ways in which to accurately and efficiently verify the age of users.

Failure to do so and allowing underage users on the platform could open up these companies to legal action or financial penalties. Furthermore, the idea that these companies are putting young people at risk could have a seriously detrimental impact on the image and reputation of their brands.

To avoid this, social media companies must look to integrate and implement a comprehensive age verification solution. In doing so, they will be able to monitor and verify the age of all users to ensure they are not permitting underage registrations.

Conclusion

If Norway moves ahead and tightens up social media age restrictions, it could open the floodgates and we could see similar action being taken by government bodies across the world. Social media is still a relatively new phenomenon, and as we learn more about the potential impact it can have on young people, social media age restrictions will become an increasingly salient talking point.

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