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Are You 15 & In Adelaide? Your Mum Might Need To OK Your TikTok

14 May 2024 | 2:13 pm | Mary Varvaris

The policy would be an Australian first, with the SA government requiring teenagers between 14 and 15 to access platforms like TikTok with parental consent.


TikTok (Source: Supplied)

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If a new law implementing a social media ban in South Australia passes, Adelaide-based TikTok users aged between 14 and 15 might need parental consent to access the app (and other social media services).

In case you missed it: South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas recently appointed former High Court justice Robert French to examine the effect of social media on young people and look to implement a ban on Instagram and TikTok, among other social media platforms.

If it happens, the policy would be an Australian first, with the government requiring teenagers aged between 14 and 15 to access platforms like TikTok with parental consent.

The finer details of how the policy would be policed are unclear. At the time of writing, users already must be 13 or older to sign up for accounts on TikTok, and those sign-ups aren’t monitored now.

Malinauskas is a father of four children and said he’s “concerned” about the impact of social media on children, per AdNews. Malinauskas continued, “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.”

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Early childhood educator Joanne Orlando told the ABC that even if social media platforms get banned in South Australia, they’ll just find another way to access them.

“They [teenagers] are very savvy when it comes to technology,” Orlando said. “Banning just simply is removing one pathway and they'll always find other pathways.”

Orlando added that using social media as a teenager can help users understand how algorithms work, and open conversations can provide them with the knowledge to make their own decisions.

“It's only with that knowledge can we then start to help young people to have a much more in control behaviour with social media so they can understand the content on there,” Orlando said.

Australian governments are keen on taking action against social media, with the federal government currently forming a parliamentary committee to investigate its impact.

In March, Meta announced it would no longer make deals with Australian media organisations.

Earlier this year, opposition leader Peter Dutton called on the Albanese government to follow the United States' example and implement a ban on TikTok.

In an interview with WSFM’s Jonesy and AmandaAnthony Albanese stated that the federal government has “no plans” to ban TikTok in Australia.

“We’ll take advice, but we have no plans to do that,” he said. “You’ve always got to have national security concerns front and centre, but you also need to acknowledge that for a whole lot of people, this provides a way of them communicating. And so, we haven’t got advice at this stage to do that.”