Social Media Age Restrictions: What Are the Age Limits? (2023)

RELATED: Social media can ‘skew’ young people’s sense of self-worth, says Meghan

Social Media: A Multitude Of Choice

Today’s netizens have no shortage of choice when it comes to social media, and every network has its own uses and even its own platform-specific culture.

Getty

For example, people who enjoy influencer culture and photography might favour Instagram. Meanwhile, vlog lovers can look up literally millions of YouTube channels out there filled with all kinds of content creators, from amateur musicians to the so-called ‘Maker’ community.

But as with any hugely popular medium of communication, social media always has the potential for negative or abusive interactions which can harm children and affect their judgement and personal growth. To combat this, social media has age restrictions that prevent children under a certain age from creating accounts.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Have A Social Media Account?

The majority of social media platforms have a minimum age of 13 in most territories:

SOCIAL NETWORK

MINIMUM AGE

EU MINIMUM AGE

Facebook

13

16

YouTube

13

16

Snapchat

13

16

Instagram

13

16

Twitter

13

16

WhatsApp

13

16

In Europe, most social media platforms have a minimum age of 16 (13 with parental consent) before a user can create an account, due to the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which came into effect on May 25, 2018.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social network in the world, with some 1.59 billion daily active users on the platform. Facebook is one of the most versatile social media platforms ever created – it allows users to write posts, join groups with thousands of people, store and share albums of photos and videos, interact with company pages, and even play games.

Facebook also includes Messenger, a powerful and fully-featured instant messaging platform. Messenger is one of the most popular IM platforms in the world, and allows people from all over the world to write messages to each other, send stickers, and even make voice and video calls.

What Activities Do Children Engage In On Facebook?

Many children use Facebook to interact with their friends and post photos of themselves. They also use Facebook to stay connected with things they love, or look up events to attend in their area.

There are many legitimate uses for Facebook that can benefit children. For example, in class, students often organise Facebook groups to help everyone stay up-to-date with assignments and projects.

What Are The Risks Of Exposure For Children?

Without proper guidance, children may make public posts and overshare personal information, which can lead to them being at risk from malicious people.

(Video) Should There Be An Age Limit To Social Media?

Children may also experience cyberbullying on Facebook, and not just from their peers. A child could make a post that goes viral, then people from all over the world could start making fun of them.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Facebook?

In most non-EU territories, the age limit to make an FB account is 13. In the EU, it’s 16. We recommend following this guideline to ensure that children are mature enough to deal with the platform.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest video sharing platform on the Internet. It’s the #2 most visited site on the Web, and over a billion hours of video content are watched on the service every day. While it’s not precisely a social network, YouTube allows users to interact in the comments, and follow channels that they like. Users can also create their own channels and upload their own content.

Getty

YouTube also allows channels to live stream content, similar to services like Periscope and Twitch.

What Activities Do Children Engage In On YouTube?

Tons of children watch video games being played by streamers on YouTube, most notably games like Fortnite and Minecraft. Other children actually upload their own videos and gain their own followings.

There are also channels dedicated to education, such as Khan Academy and Veritasium, and curious children can learn a lot from these channels just like older generations did from Discovery Channel.

Many young girls enjoy watching beauty vloggers, who give makeup tutorials and skincare advice.

(Video) Why we NEED a Social Media Age Limit

What Are The Risks Of Exposure For Children?

Because a lot of content is designed to be viral and engaging, children are susceptible to YouTube addiction, which can take away time from more productive activities.

YouTube has an age filter for videos that are inappropriate for younger audiences, but there’s nothing really stopping a child from creating an account with a fake age. Children who do this may be exposed to lewd, offensive, or shocking imagery.

There are also videos that pretend to be children’s channels, which include content from popular characters like Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine, but in reality these videos are highly offensive pieces of satirical content, or even malicious videos with suicide instructions.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use YouTube?

There’s a 13-year-old minimum age restriction to create a Google account. YouTube has a special app called YouTube Kids designed for those ages 12 and under, but it’s still possible for some bad content to slip between the cracks.

Snapchat

Snapchat is an instant messaging app that allows users to send time-limited messages to each other. They can also share photo or video stories about their daily lives, send and receive photos, take quizzes, and explore content from publishers and creators.

What Activities Do Children Engage In On Snapchat?

Snapchat is mostly used by children for communication with friends. Studies show that the younger generation is switching over from Facebook to Snapchat. Children also love the filters and use them as a form of self-expression.

What Are The Risks Of Exposure For Children?

With the Discover feature, children are exposed to a lot of different, unfiltered Snapchat accounts, some of which may feature age-inappropriate content or advertising.

Snapchat has a feature called ‘Snapstreaks’ which rewards users who regularly exchanging messages with each other. While it seems like a relatively benign feature, Snapstreaks can lead to addictive behaviour. This, compounded with the general addictive nature of many social media platforms, makes it important to manage a child’s time online.

It’s also easy to add strangers to Snapchat and form relationships with them, putting children at risk of being targeted by predators.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Snapchat?

You need to be at least 13 years of age to make a Snapchat account. We’d recommend setting an even higher limit unless your child can be trusted to avoid talking to strangers. If your child is exhibiting addictive behaviour, it’s a good idea to control their use until they can manage their time better.

Instagram

Instagram is the iconic photo and video-sharing social media platform. Back in 2016, over 95 million photos and videos were being posted every day, and that number is definitely even bigger today. Aside from sharing content and browsing their feeds, users can also post to their Stories to update their friends about their day.

(Video) why social media should have an age restriction

Getty

What Activities Do Children Engage In On Instagram?

Many children use Instagram to share photos about their lives with their friends, whether on their profile or via Stories. They also follow the accounts of their favourite celebrities and influencers, who often post on a regular basis and offer a daily stream of content.

What Are The Risks Of Exposure For Children?

Instagram doesn’t have a very robust age-gating mechanism for public accounts, and children will often come across inappropriate accounts and posts. A child’s parents may never know that they’re browsing inappropriate content unless they manage to catch it on their feed.

Influencer culture can expose children to consumerism from a pretty young age. Many children may be encouraged to buy the products that their favourite celebrities endorse.

The heavily image-centric nature of Instagram can lead to mental health issues. Instagram tends to show a highly curated and positive outlook for its users, and it may lead to low self-esteem and insecurity, or feelings of inadequacy.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Instagram?

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and carries the same 13-year-old age restriction to create an account. However, regardless of their age, it’s important to have a discussion with your child about how social media works and the nature of the images that they see in other people’s lives, to ensure that they don’t develop unhealthy ideas about their self-image.

Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging social media service that focuses on small-form posts called tweets, which are up to 280 characters long. Many celebrities are on Twitter and post updates regularly; some even use it as a means of interacting with their fans.

Getty

What Activities Do Children Engage In On Twitter?

Children follow their friends and their favourite celebs on Twitter. They also use it to talk about their daily lives, keep track of the hashtags that they’re interested in, and may even have it as their source of news.

(Video) Social media and the age limit debate

What Are The Risks Of Exposure For Children?

Twitter has many risks associated with cyberbullying. For one, subtweeting, short for ‘subliminal tweeting,’ is common among teens to subtly bully someone that they don’t like. Another is that a child can be bullied by people who disagree with them if one of their tweets goes viral. Twitter culture can be very unforgiving.

Twitter is a very free and open space, and that comes with the risk of children being exposed to inappropriate images, as well as foul language and even harmful ideas. If your child’s account is public, strangers can easily message them as well.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Twitter?

Twitter has a minimum age of 13 to create an account on the site, but we recommend sitting down and having a discussion with your child about the risks of Twitter before allowing them to maintain an account on it.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the largest instant messaging platform in the world, with 1.5 billion users today. It allows users to securely send private messages, files, videos, stickers, and their location. WhatsApp also allows users to participate in large group conversations. You need a phone number to register a WhatsApp account.

Getty

What Activities Do Children Engage In On WhatsApp?

Because WhatsApp only allows you to directly communicate with people who are already on your phone contacts list, WhatsApp is mostly used by children to talk to their friends or schoolmates.

What Are The Risks Of Exposure For Children?

One potential problem with WhatsApp is group conversations, which children often participate in as a primary form of communication. While group chats have their social benefits, they can also contribute to feelings of peer pressure or even promote bullying.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Use WhatsApp?

WhatsApp has a minimum age of 13 to create an account. A child should only have a WhatsApp account at the age that you can trust them with a cellphone.

Conclusion

Social media age limits help ensure that your child can handle each platform and their possible negative influences. But as a parent, you should be the final judge as to whether your child is mature enough to use these platforms, even if they’re past the minimum age.

RELATED: Home and Away’s Sam Frost shares special news

FAQs

What are the age limits for social media? ›

Many have a minimum age of 13 years old to be able to sign up, but you should check the age rating of individual apps to make sure.

Can a 12 year old have social media? ›

Due to the various dangers and effects of social media, it is necessary that parents restrict their children from using social media until at least 13 years old. At that age, they may introduce those apps to their children so the process becomes more gradual and easier to monitor.

Why is there a age limit on social media? ›

The age requirements are there because of data protection laws. Online services are not allowed to collect or store children's personal information if they are under the age of 13. Data protection laws also say that only children aged 13 and over can sign up to online services without parental permission.

Why is social media 13+? ›

The age limit is 13 because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was passed in 1998. COPPA restricts websites from tracking data on children under 13, which is why most apps do not want kids younger than 13 to join.

What is the age limit for TikTok? ›

Creating a TikTok account

TikTok has a 12+ rating in the Apple App Store and is listed as “Parental Guidance Recommended” in Google's Play Store. If you don't want your teen to download TikTok, these ratings mean you can prevent them from doing so using the parental controls available via these stores or platforms.

Is Snapchat ok for 11 year olds? ›

Like many other social networks, the minimum age to use Snapchat is 13 years old.

Can 7 year olds have Instagram? ›

Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher).

Why are kids under 13 not allowed on social media? ›

Under-age Users

Most social media networks have a minimum registration age of 13 years. This is due to a US law that prohibits collecting the personal information of children under 13 without parental consent. It is not a crime for children under 13 to use these networks, but it is a violation of terms and conditions.

Is Snapchat ok for a 12 year old? ›

Common Sense Media rates Snapchat OK for teens 16 and up, mainly because of the exposure to age-inappropriate content and the marketing ploys, such as quizzes, that collect data.

What's the legal age for Snapchat? ›

Age restrictions

Snapchat states that young people under the age of 13 years are not able to create an account. However, there is no strict age verification in place when signing up to the app, allowing underage children to sign up by giving a false date of birth.

How old is Instagram's age limit? ›

Instagram also requires you to be 13 years of age to create an account.

What is the limit age for Instagram? ›

We require people to be at least 13 years old to sign up for Instagram. In some countries, our minimum age is higher.

Is Snapchat a 13? ›

How old do kids have to be to use Snapchat? According to the terms of use on the app, users need to be a minimum of 13, and to gain access, users need to add their birthday. But, Snapchat doesn't actually verify the information, so you need to be the gatekeeper.

Is Instagram appropriate for 12 year old? ›

How old should kids be to use Instagram? According to the terms of service, you have to be 13, but there's no age-verification process, so it's very easy for kids under 13 to sign up. Common Sense rates Instagram for age 15 and up because of mature content, access to strangers, marketing ploys, and data collection.

Can a 7 year old get TikTok? ›

What is the Age Limit for TikTok? The minimum age for a TikTok user is 13 years old. While this is great news for younger users, it's important to note that TikTok doesn't use any age verification tools when new users sign up.

Can a 7 year old use TikTok? ›

The app has an age-rating of 13+. Users can browse different videos on TikTok via a personalised feed known as the 'For You Page'. You can also search for content using topics or hashtags.

Is it OK for an 11 year old to have TikTok? ›

What age is TikTok recommended for? Common Sense recommends the app for age 15+ mainly due to the privacy issues and mature content. TikTok requires that users be at least 13 years old to use the full TikTok experience, although there is a way for younger kids to access the app.

Is Snapkidz still available in 2022? ›

Snapkidz has been discontinued.

Should a 12 year old date? ›

The general consensus from the group was that 12 seems to be a good age to begin dating. However, Miller finds that, at that age, the word dating means very different things to different people. Middle-schooler Giovanni, said, "Some people just hang out with their boyfriend or girlfriend.

At what age should a child have a phone? ›

Ten to 12 is a great range because kids are still very connected to their parents and into their parents being in their phone and in their business,” says Catherine Pearlman, a licensed clinical social worker and author of “First Phone,” a guide for kids.

Is there a kid version of TikTok? ›

What is Zigazoo? Zigazoo is an app for kids that allows them to post short-form videos, like TikToks or Instagram Reels, and share them with their friends.

Is there Snapchat for kids? ›

People as young as 13 years old can use the app, prompting the company to work with families and experts to create "extra protections" for teens. The newest feature is an in-app tool called Family Center that allows parents to oversee their children's accounts.

Is Snapchat good for kids? ›

Parents should consider whether children are mature enough to navigate explicit content and whether they know how to think about the potential impact of what they post. That said, when used responsibly, Snapchat can be a positive outlet for older kids to explore their creativity and connect with friends.

Can an 11 year old have social media? ›

Most social media apps require people to be at least 13 years old to sign up. But these age restrictions aren't always enforced, so pre-teens can often still use the apps. It can be tricky if your child's friends are using social media apps before they're old enough and your child wants to do the same.

Is Instagram safe for kids under 13? ›

Gilboa advises parents not to allow children to use social media until they are 13. This is the age which most companies require children to be to use it. “I always recommend waiting until your child is 13 before you allow them to click the link that says, 'I'm 13' and can join Instagram,” she told TODAY.

Is it illegal to post a child on social media? ›

Basically, with a few exceptions, it is actually perfectly legal for strangers to photograph or videotape your child, and they are free to post or publish the images as well. Contrary to what many parents believe, they do not need to give their consent or sign a release.

Can a 12 year old have a boyfriend? ›

"There is no law about when you are old enough to have a girlfriend or boyfriend, unlike the age of consent. You need to know your child well, because some children may be ready for a relationship at 12 but another not until they are 17."

Should a 11 year old have a phone? ›

Helps Keep Kids Safe

The easiest and best reason to buy a mobile phone for an 11-year-old kid is safety. Kids face many dangers these days, and having a mobile phone can help protect them. Kids should know how to use their phones in case of emergencies while they're out on their own.

Should a 11 year old have a TV in their room? ›

Experts agree that under the age of two, children shouldn't have any screen time at all. After that, and up to the age of 12, it's recommended that they have only one hour of viewing a day.

What is the age limit for Facebook? ›

Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). Creating an account with false info is a breach of our terms. This includes accounts registered on behalf of someone under 13.

What is the age limit on WhatsApp? ›

WhatsApp offers a quick, easy, and free way for young people to connect with friends and family, whether by sharing photos, videos or memes. WhatsApp requires a minimum age of 16 but relies on the honesty of the child and family to adhere to the age restrictions.

What age is discord? ›

Discord requires that users be at least 13 years old, although they do not verify users' age upon sign-up.

What is the age limit of twitter? ›

Twitter requires people using the service to be 13 years of age or older.

Why is Google deleting my account because of age? ›

Your account may be disabled if you provided a date of birth that does not meet the minimum age requirements to own a Google Account. If you incorrectly entered your date of birth and your account has been disabled, learn how to re-enable your Google Account.

Is Instagram an 18+ app? ›

Social Vouching allows users to ask mutual followers to confirm their age. The person vouching must be at least 18 years old and must not be vouching for anyone else at that time. That person will be needed to meet other Instagram safeguards too.

How do I enable 18+ on Instagram? ›

To set up a minimum age for your Instagram account:
  1. Go to your profile and tap .
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Select Business or Creator depending on your profile type.
  4. Tap Minimum age.
  5. You can add a default age that will be applied everywhere. You can also add ages by country.

Is there a kid version of Instagram? ›

It will require parental permission to join, it won't have ads, and it will have age-appropriate content and features. Parents can supervise the time their children spend on the app and oversee who can message them, who can follow them and who they can follow.

Can I monitor my child's Snapchat? ›

Snapchat launches parental controls to help manage teens' social media use Snapchat's Family Center lets parents see whom their teen is contacting, but not their messages. Parents can also confidentially report accounts that concern them, without their child's knowledge.

Should I let my 13 year old have TikTok? ›

At what age should a child be allowed to be on TikTok? Jean Twenge, our nation's leading researcher on how social media impacts child and adolescent development, recommends that no child under 13 should be on any social media, including TikTok. And I would add that many 13-year-olds aren't ready.

Why do kids like Snapchat? ›

What makes Snapchat so popular with kids? Snap is popular with kids because their friends are on it and their parents aren't. The primary developmental task of tweens, teens, and young adults is to figure out who they are in relation to their social world.

Should I get my 13 year old a phone? ›

The average age kids get a phone is between 12 and 13. With that in mind, it's up to the parents to be the best judge of whether their child is ready for a cell phone.

Is Twitter safe for 12 year olds? ›

Twitter requires people using our service to be 13 years of age or older.

What age rating is Roblox? ›

Roblox PEGI and ESRB Rating Update

ESRB used to rate Roblox as Everyone 10+ and have now updated this to Teen for “Diverse Content: Discretion Advised”.

Can a 12 year old have Instagram? ›

Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher).

Is there any social media for under 13? ›

Spotlite (formerly Kudos) An app that is a digital environment where children can explore, learn, and understand how to be positive online.

Can people under 13 use social media? ›

It is also important for parents to realize that 13 is the minimum age for most social media sites. 13 years is the age set by Congress in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits websites from collecting information on children younger than 13 years without parental permission.

Is TikTok kid friendly? ›

Is TikTok appropriate for kids? If you supervise your kids, use safety settings, and stick to songs you already know, TikTok can be a kid-friendly experience. But TikTok's emphasis on popular music means many videos include swearing and sexual lyrics, so it may not be age-appropriate for kids to use on their own.

Can a 11 year old wear makeup? ›

Let pre-teens and young tweens experiment with tinted moisturizer, light lip tint or gloss, and a brow pencil/pomade. Skip heavy foundation and lipstick for this age group. Allow 12-13 year olds to use concealer for blemishes, eye shadow, eyeliner, powder for oily skin, and a light coat of mascara.

What is the age limit for Snapchat? ›

Age 13 is the minimum age to sign up for Snapchat. This Snapchat age requirement is lower than the minimum age of apps like Instagram, which require users to be 16+. There's a higher Snapchat age requirement of 18 to use certain features, like payments or attaching one's name to a global Spotlight video.

Can a 12 year old watch a 6 year old? ›

In general, kids can start babysitting siblings for short periods around age 11 or 12. Start by leaving them for short amounts of time and gradually increase it as they prove themselves trustworthy. Don't leave them alone overnight until your oldest child is at least 16.

Should I let my 12 year old have Snapchat? ›

You have to enter your birth date to set up an account, but there's no age verification, so it's easy for kids under 13 to sign up. Common Sense Media rates Snapchat OK for teens 16 and up, mainly because of the exposure to age-inappropriate content and the marketing ploys, such as quizzes, that collect data.

Is Instagram illegal under 13? ›

According to the terms of service, you have to be 13, but there's no age-verification process, so it's very easy for kids under 13 to sign up. Common Sense rates Instagram for age 15 and up because of mature content, access to strangers, marketing ploys, and data collection.

Is it illegal to have Snapchat under 13? ›

According to the Snapchat Terms of Service, no one under the age of 13 is allowed to use the app. That said, it's extremely easy for kids to get around this rule when they sign up and many younger children are using the app. And, there are a few big safety concerns that parents should be aware of.

Videos

1. Social media should have an age requirement.
(Carlie Hall)
2. The Importance of Social Media Age Restrictions
(Suci Kartini)
3. Ted Talk- Why the Social Media Age Restriction Should be 14 Years of Age
(Emma Haynes)
4. Age Limit for Social Media Influencers?
(Natasha Sweatte)
5. Gen Z Callout : Legally Enforced Age Restrictions for Social Media
(skysskape)
6. Social Media Age Restrictions- The Soft Barrier
(jhelum bhattacharya)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Eusebia Nader

Last Updated: 01/22/2023

Views: 5933

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Eusebia Nader

Birthday: 1994-11-11

Address: Apt. 721 977 Ebert Meadows, Jereville, GA 73618-6603

Phone: +2316203969400

Job: International Farming Consultant

Hobby: Reading, Photography, Shooting, Singing, Magic, Kayaking, Mushroom hunting

Introduction: My name is Eusebia Nader, I am a encouraging, brainy, lively, nice, famous, healthy, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.