By Corina Oliquino

MANILA –Laguna 1st District Rep. Danilo Ramon Fernandez filed House Bill No. 3507 titled “Social Media Regulation and Protection Act of 2019 to ban children under 13 years of age from using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in the Philippines,” citing “pervasive-driven digital marketing systems” on the internet.

Under the bill, social media companies operating in the Philippines will be required to “strengthen its features restricting users under 13 years of age.”

In a report by ABS-CBN News, Fernandez’s bill will also prohibit “social media companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 years of age without parental consent and from anyone between 13 to 17 years old without the user’s consent.”

The legislation will also make it “mandatory” for social media companies to “provide age restrictions and limitations on the use of all social media platforms,” and “provide adequate and efficient notification mechanisms on declared parents of a child.”

“With the advent and creation of social media, children and adolescents’ every move is monitored on-line, and even the youngest are bombarded with advertising when they go on-line to do their homework, talk with friends and play,” read the bill’s explanatory note, with Hernandez noting the measure hopes to protect children’s well-being by protecting them from “on-line threats.”

If passed into law, the legislation will also mandate all netizens to be limited to just 30 minutes a day on a social media platform, in all devices, with “users able (to) change the limits but they would have to do so every week.”

The Department of Information and Communications Technology shall be responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the bill.

Fernandez said the bill “not only strengthens privacy and security, specifically for children and minors but also champion consumer protection.”

Current age restrictions

In a report by The Philippine Star, current age restrictions by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit disallow users under 13 years old to create an account, while YouTube runs a stricter rules as it only allows users 18 years old and above to create an account.

However, 13-year-olds can still manage to create an account with consent from a parent or guardian.

Meanwhile, DataReportal’s Digital 2019: Global Digital Overview released last January showed Filipinos spend 10 hours and two minutes every day using the internet, the longest among all nations in the world.

With at least four hours and 12 minutes spent by most Filipinos on social media, longer compared to the worldwide average of 40 minutes