NSW premier backs social media age limit to stop ‘enormous damage’

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NSW Premier Chris Minns says he doesn't think children under 16 should have access to social media as the state considers introducing age limits for the platforms.

The state government today announced an emergency summit on social media, with Minns backing calls to reduce access to the websites for young children.

"I think (16) is the right age or at least the limit," he told 2GB radio this morning.

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"There'd be a lot of 16-year-olds where even that isn't old enough, to be honest with you, when you consider what you're exposed to as a result of being on social media."

Major social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook require users to be at least 13 before signing up but Minns said his government was considering legislating age restrictions – although he'd prefer a federal approach rather than state-by-state laws.

"I've got to make a decision about whether that's enforceable at the state level, it'd be better if we could do it at a national level," he said.


"But my sense is, from the parents I speak to and increasingly the evidence internationally, that we're doing an enormous amount of damage to young people as a result of them being on social media.

"I think it's a giant global unregulated experiment on children and we have to change."

Minns said he thought there would be support in the community for restricting childrens' access to social media.

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NSW Premier Chris Minns.

"The truth is everybody's had enough and we're seeing the long-term effects of, at best, just wasting hours and hours on devices and, at worst, doing serious psychological damage," he said.

The federal government is investing almost $10 million for a pilot program of online age verification technology but hasn't made any commitment to a social media age limit.

The NSW summit will take place in October and will be attended by academics, government policy makers and representatives from social media platforms.