Meta under fire after WhatsApp lowers age restriction from 16 to 13

12 April 2024, 13:15 | Updated: 12 April 2024, 13:28

WhatsApp has been criticised after lowering its age limit
WhatsApp has been criticised after lowering its age limit. Picture: Alamy

By Flaminia Luck

Meta has been slammed for its decision to lower the age restrictions on WhatsApp from 13 from 16.

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The change came into affect in the UK and EU on April 11 but has already been met with calls to reverse it immediately.

Campaign group Smartphone Free Childhood told the Times they are putting "shareholder profits first and children's safety second".

WhatsApp said the change was bringing the age limit in line with the majority of countries.

The social media giant also said protections were in place.

'Shareholder profits first'

Co-founder Daisy Greenwell said: “WhatsApp is putting shareholder profits first and children’s safety second.

"Reducing their age of use from 16 to 13 years old is completely tone deaf and ignores the increasingly loud alarm bells being rung by scientists, doctors, teachers, child safety experts, parents and mental health experts alike."

She added: "Among parents, WhatsApp is seen as the safest social media app, 'because it's just messaging, right? '.

"And in that way it works like a gateway drug for the rest of the social media apps. If you're messaging your friends on WhatsApp, why not message them on Snapchat? ".

Rani Govender from the NSPCC says concerns have already been reported.

She said they have had cases of children seeing "harmful content", incidents of bullying and even of children being exposed to sexual abuse.

Conservative MP Vicky Ford, a member of the education select committee, said the decision was “highly irresponsible”.

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Donald Trump's Social Media Business Truth Social To Be Publicly Listed. Picture: Getty

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