Facebook ‘likes’ could be blocked for children

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat could turn off their ‘like’ function for children in a bid to keep young people safe online.

New guidelines have been suggested to protect youngsters on the internet.

But while some have praised it as a step to avoid ‘tragic’ consequences, the draft code has not been universally welcomed.

What are the proposed rules?

Under the rules suggested by The Information Commissioner’s Office in London, are ways to prevent tech firms from ‘nudging’ users into staying online for longer.

Facebook and Instagram does this through ‘likes’ and Snapchat encourages people to keep posting through ‘streaks’.

Another rule is that ‘high privacy’ should become the default setting on social media accounts, unless there is a compelling reason and only the minimum amount of personal data should be collected.

Nudge techniques should also not be used to encourage children to turn off privacy techniques or provide unnecessary personal data, the code says.

Why take action now?

One in four young people admits to struggling to respond to calls, texts and social media notifications, a survey has found.

A quarter of 18-24-year-olds said they found the pressure difficult to manage, compared to just 10% of those aged over 55, according to the research.

Across all age groups, money issues were reported as a key stress factor by one in five respondents, rising to one in three among those aged 25-34.

A third of adults in this age bracket said they found it hard to make time for their friends, while more than a quarter said they found it hard to book and manage dentist and doctor appointments.