SA proposes ban on social media for children under 14 to benefit mental health and safety

Premier Peter Malinauskas has announced a nation-leading move aimed at protecting children from the potential harms of social media

Premier Peter Malinauskas has announced a nation-leading move aimed at protecting children from the potential harms of social media.

The state government has revealed former Chief Justice of the High Court, Robert French AC, will lead a comprehensive legal review into banning children under the age of 14 from having social media accounts.

The proposed changes will not only including banning social media access to those under 14, but also requiring parental contest for children aged 14 and 15.

The move marks a first for Australia, following a growing number of global jurisdictions banning social media access for children.

Countries including Spain and U.S. states like Florida and Texas have already introduced legislation, which demonstrate a global trend towards increased regulation of social media usage among minors.

Sonya Ryan OAM, Founder and CEO of The Carly Ryan Foundation, has strongly supported the government’s strategy, highlighting the risks social media poses to younger children, who may lack the maturity and judgment required to navigate online spaces safely.

From exposure, to inappropriate content, to the threat of online predators and cyberbullying, the list of potential harms is extensive.

A survey by Australian mental health organisation ReachOut indicated that a majority of parents are concerned about the impacts of social media on their children, with findings from the United States suggesting that adolescents who engage in excessive social media use are at an increased risk of experiencing significant mental health effects.

“Like most parents, I am concerned about the impact social media is having on children in our community,” Premier Peter Malinauskas said.

“We are seeing mounting evidence from experts of the adverse impact of social media on children, their mental health and development.

“I am determined to ensure as a government we are doing everything we can to protect our children.

“As one of the nation’s pre-eminent legal minds, former Chief Justice of the High Court Robert French AC is well-placed to conduct this nation-leading legal examination for South Australia.

In this significant move by the South Australian Government, there is potential for other states and territories to consider similar measures.

As online platforms increasingly become central to social interaction, the importance of protecting young people from the risks of these platforms becomes ever more apparent.

More News

To Top