Although most social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook require users to be at least 13 years old to register, Indonesian lawmakers disagree stating they lack regulations and would benefit from a higher age limit to protect children online.
“We cannot control the whole content, social media content, especially related to violence, pornography or hate speech. One of the alternatives is to limit the age for users,” said Abdul Kadir Karding, member of the People’s Representative Council for Indonesia.
Research published in 2019 found that more than 90 percent internet users in Indonesia are of ages 15 to 19 years old.
Is this really necessary?
Aside from the numerous benefits the internet has to offer, social media is a double-edged sword.
According to The Diplomat, social media has brought plenty of negative consequences to Indonesian society. Namely, social media abuse and ethical violations.
Social media abuse ranges from harassment to misusing the platform while ethical violations include spreading fake news, defamation, uploading graphic images, online shopping scams, and more.
Spreading misinformation and harassment are arguably the more detrimental practices on social media but yet the government of Indonesia does not seem to take any steps towards promoting social media literacy.
Perhaps the new law will help protect vulnerable groups aka minors but many parties have suggested a layered approach instead.
This emphasizes the importance of not only creating laws to protect children but incorporating social media literacy education into the national education curriculum.
The Indonesian communications ministry admits that the new restrictions will be hard to impose hence users under 17 are allowed to use social media only with consent from their parents.