Opposition calls to raise it to 16 have suffered a setback

Opposition calls to increase the digital age of consent have suffered a setback.

The amendment to the Data Protection Bill to raise the age to 16 has been voted against by the Justice Committee.

The defeat has been welcomed by children’s organisations which had joined forces to campaign for it to remain at 13.

The organisations including The Children's Rights Alliance, the ISPCC and Spunout gathered today to call on TDs to retain this age at 13 at report and final stage of the Bill.

The Children's Ombudman Dr Niall Muldoon had expressed concern at the calls to raise the age to 16: 'In my view, providing for 13 years as the digital age of consent takes more appropriate account of young people’s internet use and of the integral role that the online environment plays in their lives. It is also more in keeping with international children’s rights standards. It represents a more proportionate approach to balancing the opportunities and risks that the online environment presents to children and, with that, to balancing children’s rights in this environment.'