Social media in Niger came under a massive disinformation attack in February, an AFP Fact Check investigation has found
IBTimes US

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has stepped up his condemnation of social media, calling it a "scourge," while supporting laws that forbid minors from using the internet.

Albanese's comments are consistent with those made by Peter Dutton, who had promised that if elected, the Coalition government would enact a law to ban under-16s from accessing social media within 100 days, The Guardian reported.

On Thursday, Dutton had also suggested working together to combat the negative effects of social media.

"I want people to spend more time on the footy field or the netball court than they're spending on their phones," he told journalists who asked about Dutton's comments. "And a ban, if it can be effective, is a good way to go."

Meanwhile, Dutton had told Nova FM last month that, "I would put it at the top of my list for the first 100 days in government. So, within the first three months, we would introduce it, and it reflects the community values and where the view is for the vast majority of Australians at the moment. I can't understand an argument against putting in place sensible measures."

"We wouldn't in the real world allow our kids to go into a park, or into a shopping center just to hang out with any adult that came by," as per The Nightly. "We should be doing everything we can to support them."

A sharp increase in "sextortion" incidents coincides with growing criticism of large international digital companies for making money off of objectionable content, such as child exploitation and predatory messaging.

The Nightly reported that these frauds, in which con artists impersonate teenagers on chat applications, have sadly led to the death of several young Australians. Recently, the Australian Federal Police had charged two Nigerian men for allegedly scamming an Australian boy, following which the latter took his life.

Concerns have grown to the point that some well-known Australians, along with the premiers of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, have suggested banning kids from using Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and raising the legal age of access to social media to 16. Even while there are already laws prohibiting users under 13, internet firms' enforcement of these laws is slack, making it simple for kids to get around age limits by pretending to be older and using cell phones.

Tanya Plibersek, the minister of the environment, questioned tech business laws and expressed sorrow for giving her children iPhones at an early age.