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Thursday, April 19, 2018

WhatsApp to change age policy

Por MRod

The next application that receives news after all the controversy that has been involved in Facebook is WhatsApp. As the WABetaInfo portal advances, as of the next few days, you will not be able to use WhatsApp if you are under 16 years old. In this way, it is planned to limit access to the application to the youngest.

WhatsApp will raise the minimum age to use the application to 16 years. Until now, the social network set the limit in 13 years or the minimum age required in each country to have authorization to use the services without parental approval, as stated by the company on its website. This measure will come in the coming weeks, according to WABetaInfo through its Twitter profile. The portal states that the modification of the regulations could be carried out concretely before next May 25, the day that begins to be applicable, with all its consequences, the European General Data Protection Regulation of 2016. "In Spain now, the limit should be in 14 years and with parental permission for the data protection regulation," says Juan Pablo Peñarrubia, president of the General Council of the Professional Associations of Computer Engineering (CCII, for its Spanish acronym). But Peñarrubia doubts that this new regulation that WhatsApp intends to implement will be met: "I know infinity of children under 13 who use WhatsApp currently."

The reason is that to use the application you just must accept the conditions of use when installing it. But usually neither parents nor children read the conditions: 88% of users accept the terms and conditions on the Internet without reading them, according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU). Therefore, the question that must be asked, according to Peñarrubia, should be the following: "What new mechanisms will the company take so that children under that age do not use the app?". The president of the General Council of Professional Associations of Computer Engineering points out that one of the measures to control compliance with the regulations would be for the telephony operator to provide the service provider - in this case WhatsApp - the age of the owner of the telephone. "We must normalize the fact of incorporating a child as the owner of the mobile and mount reliable mechanisms to know if behind a line there is a minor," he says.

WhatsApp has become a worldwide phenomenon for adults and children. According to some media, in Spain there are 20 million users who already use it and each one of them checks it 150 times a day. Specifically, 76 percent of children aged 11 to 14 years use it regularly. Therefore, it is very important that parents know the risks of their children using WhatsApp. Beginning to use WhatsApp is not a prerequisite. Any minor who wants to have the application, should only download and install it, providing the application with their personal data and a photograph.