Under 15s in France to require parental consent to use social media

The French government has passed a new law obliging social media platforms to verify the age of users and to require the mandatory consent of parents for users under the age of 15.  

In order to protect the youngest members of society from the threats associated with social media use – namely online abuse, bullying and inappropriate content – and to make sure parents are aware of what their children are seeing and doing, the French parliament has made it obligatory for platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat to confirm the age of all users, as well as to make it necessary for anyone under 15 to require parental consent before signing up for a profile.    


The new law was passed on 29th June in the Senate, having been given the green light by the National Assembly the day prior. However, the date the law goes into effect has not been determined yet and will be set by decree following a judgement that will be issued by the European Commission (EC) on its compliance with other EU laws.  

Once it passes through the EC, the social media networks will then have one year to conform and make the changes required for any new registrations. Parental consent must also be obtained for accounts already held by children under 15, but this will not come into practice until two years after the law has been in effect.  

“Rest assured that we will ensure that this text can be applied as soon as possible,” said Jean-Noël Barrot, the mnister in charge of France’s “Digital Transition”, before going on to add that the legislation “will mark a milestone” in the age of social media.   

The hope is that the threats from cyberbullying, access to inappropriate content such as pornography and addictive usage can be curtailed if parents know more about their children’s accounts.  


Despite social media being officially off-limits to children under 13, studies done by the National Commission for Computing and Freedoms (CNIL) have shown that the average age of a child’s first foray into social media is at about eight and a half, with more than 50% of 10- to 14-year-olds having an online presence.  

To make the new law effective, the networks will need to come up with “technical solutions in accordance with a reference system”, which will be drawn up by the Regulatory Authority for Audiovisual and Digital Communication.  

The lack of a solid procedure was a sticking point in the parliamentary debates, but ultimately there was a desire to send a strong message first and work out the details later.  

What has been decided is the penalty for those in breach. Any non-compliance by social media platforms will be sanctioned and fined up to 1% of the company’s global turnover.


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Photo source: Daria Nepriakhina for Unsplash