Ombudsman for Children opposes call to raise the digital age of consent to 16

The Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon has said that he is very concerned at Opposition parties' call to raise the digital age of consent to 16 years.

Fianna Fáil, the Social Democrats and Labour have all called for the increase, but children's rights groups say that the age should be kept at 13.

Children's Rights Alliance Chief Executive Tanya Ward said that they have come together to oppose calls for a change.

"It's also joined by calls by the Ombudsman for Children and previously Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Geoffrey Shannon, has called for the age of digital consent to be set at 13," she said.

"And just to be clear about what it means, it's the age at which your parents can consent to give over your information to a third party, to a platform or a company that may be holding your information."

Labour's Justice spokesman Seán Sherlock thinks we need to limit young people's internet activity.

"We're basically saying to the likes of Facebook and the WhatsApp's & co's that you can exploit a child's information for use, and you can sell products back to that child," he said.

"And I don't care what anybody says, a 13-year-old... OK, you're a teenager, but you're still a minor, and in ordinary common law, you wouldn't be able to enter into a contract."

- Digital desk

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