South Australia Proposes Social Media Ban for Children Under 14

In a bold move aimed at safeguarding children’s mental health, South Australia’s Premier, Peter Malinauskas, has unveiled a proposal to ban social media access for those under 14 years old in the state.

Under this proposal, children under 14 would be prohibited from using any form of social media, while those aged 14 and 15 would require parental consent to access such platforms.

The initiative, spearheaded by Malinauskas’ government, has appointed Robert French, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, to investigate the legal feasibility of implementing the country’s inaugural social media age restriction. Citing mounting evidence of social media’s adverse effects on young minds, Malinauskas emphasized the urgency of the situation.

“There has been substantial evidence indicating that addictive algorithms are manipulating young users, often beyond their cognitive capacities,” Malinauskas stated.

“Our children are facing harm, and we cannot afford to delay action. I am determined that South Australia takes a proactive stance on this issue.”

The proposed regulations draw parallels to existing laws barring Australians under 18 from online gambling, aiming to shield minors from potentially harmful online activities.

Data from a 2021 report by the federal government’s eSafety Commissioner highlights the prevalence of social media usage among Australian teenagers, with an average weekly online time of 14.4 hours and engagement across multiple platforms.

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