PM praises push to ban kids from social media

Kat Wong |

Parents are concerned about their kids accessing inappropriate material online.
Parents are concerned about their kids accessing inappropriate material online.

Moves to ban children from social media have been applauded by the prime minister.

Earlier in May, South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas appointed a former High court chief justice to examine pathways for his government to impose a social media ban on Australians under 14.

Under the proposal, parents would also have to give their consent for children aged 14 and 15 to access a social media account.

Having spoken to concerned parents, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed efforts to explore age restriction measures.

“Parents are worried sick about what their kids have access to online, it is a major social issue in this country,” he told reporters north of Sydney on Sunday.

“Premier Malinauskas – I applaud his leadership on this issue.”

Social media apps seen on an Apple iPhone
The budget allocated funds to respond to “emerging and evolving online harms”. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Parents were concerned about their children having access to inappropriate material online and the mental health impacts of social media, Mr Albanese said.

However, any age requirement initiatives must be proven to work.

“We want to make sure that any measures that are put in place are effective, because one of the concerns which is there is that age protocols may be circumvented.”

The federal government revealed it would commit $6.5 million in its budget to pilot “age assurance technologies” by testing their effectiveness and investigating how implementation could work in a bid to prevent children from accessing inappropriate and harmful online content.

Funding from a $43.2 million communications package would also be used to respond to “emerging and evolving online harms” and another $1.4 million would be earmarked for the office of the online safety watchdog over two years.

Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese says parents are worried sick about what their kids see online. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

The federal government is also creating a joint standing committee to examine the consequences of online content on Australian society.

“The impact of social media – I think – is the number one topic on the sideline of football, netball and school sport on any weekend in any part of Australia,” Mr Albanese said.

“It’s time that we take strong action, but we want to make sure that strong action is effective.”

This comes after the eSafety Commissioner lost a Federal Court bid that would have forced X, formerly Twitter, to continue hiding videos of a stabbing that occurred in Western Sydney.