The so-called "age of digital consent" should be raised from 13 to 16 years old, Dublin Senator Catherine Noone has said.
Senator Noone said: “It is important to be clear in what we mean by the age of digital consent. This does not mean a child can access the internet at 13 but rather that they can share personal information on a wide range on social media and gaming platforms, without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
“By setting the age of digital consent at 13, we will allow potentially vulnerable teens to share their data and personal details online; this can have serious consequences.
“Exposure to social media when not psychologically mature can have a range of effects, not least on a young person’s mental health.
“I believe that we should raise the age of digital consent to 16, in line with other countries such as Germany. Of course some teens mature faster than others, however, by raising the age limit we can protect those who are more vulnerable and trust parents to know when their child is ready.
“We can all do more to enhance online protection and awareness. Social media companies have a responsibility to provide greater assurances that the necessary protections are in place.
She concludes: “There is also a great need in Ireland for a nationwide campaign, educating children and adolescents about online safety, personal information and data. By creating such a programme we can better equip our children to deal with the cyber-world."