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FINE Gael Councillor Mary Howard is calling on the Government to reconsider reducing the digital age of consent.

It currently stands at 16 but it will be soon reduced to 13, meaning teens will be able to have total control over their online lives at an earlier age.

Cllr Howard believes this will expose children to greater risk online and she raised the issue at a recent Council meeting.

“I think that’s very dangerous, there are predators and unscrupulous people online that can get access to their information.

“Once the digital age of consent goes back to 13, that information is out there, but if it was 16, that information would be protected,” Cllr Howard said.

Clare County Council will write to Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Charles Flanagan and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mr. Denis Naughten, asking them to reconsider the digital age of consent.

Cllr Howard also pointed out that lowering the age of consent could cause problems for younger teenagers who feel they cannot ask their parents for help.

She also believes that parents are going to be very frightened with the access that their children are going to have on the internet.

“At 13 you’re going to have some who are very mature, but the vast majority aren’t. They’re children at the end of the day.

“They’re naïve, they can be preyed upon very easily, which has been seen in the media,” Cllr Howard added.

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