Age limits – mobile phones, apps and social networks

Mobile phones

The law does not set down a minimum age limit for the use of mobile phones, but if you are under 18 you cannot enter into a monthly contract for a mobile phone. Many parents or carers enter into a contract for their children’s phones, or you can use pay-as-you-go.

Apps

These have only come into existence quite recently, and there is no law about age limits. Most operators have their own system for age-rating their apps in order to inform users of likely content: for example, Apple grades apps on its store as 4+, 9+, 12+ or 17+; Android, Windows, and  Blackberry have similar systems.  Most operators also allow parental settings to control the content on your phone or tablet. If you are not restricted by these, use the age-ratings and your good sense and judgement when downloading apps.

Social networks

The law does not set down a minimum age limit for use of social networking sites; the sites themselves operate their own rules. Facebook,  Ask.fm, Snapchat and Instagram, for example, all say that users must be 13 or older to sign up (though this may not exactly happen in practice ). Twitter says that its services are not aimed at those aged under 13, and that it is its policy not to get personal information from those under 13. Whatsapp requires you to be at least 13.

Whatever your age, make sure you protect your safety and your privacy when using social networks – see our pages on internet and social networking safety here.

You might be interested in our other pages on age limits:

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Understand age limits