What is the minimum age for WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok and Co.

Parents are increasingly being asked by their children whether they are allowed to use Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok or other online services. One argument that parents are likely to know very well is "The others are allowed to do it too! In many cases, peer pressure actually plays a big role. If the majority of the class uses WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. for exchanges, children either don't get a lot of information at all or get it too late. However, this should in no way mean rashly allowing their use.

Social networks and messengers are not suitable for all ages. For example, the use of popular services is subject to age restrictions imposed by the providers, which can be found in the terms of use.

Even though there is usually no verification of the actual age, parents should take these age restrictions seriously and talk to their child about why the use of certain services may not (yet) be suitable for their child. In addition, there are also suitable offers for younger children to make their first experiences with online communication in an environment that is as safe as possible.

Minimum age according to terms of use

According to the general terms and conditions of Facebook (as of March 2023), users can register at the age of 13. There is no age verification.

 On Instagram, the minimum age according to the Terms of Use is13 years (as of March 2023). An age verification does not take place.

According to the terms of use, the minimum age for European users is 13 (as of March 2024).

The age information in the Terms of Use is not easy to understand on YouTube. However, the following applies overall: All children and young people under 18 years of age require parental consent for any use of YouTube (i.e. even just watching videos) (as of March 2023).

Since YouTube belongs to Google, a Google account is required to log in to YouTube. Children under 16 are not allowed to create a Google account. Consequently, they cannot register with YouTube. However, the basic functions of YouTube (e.g. watching videos) can be used as a guest even without a Google account.
Exception: Parents with a Google account can activate an account with parental control for their child. The child account can then be used by the child, but is managed and supervised by the parents. There is no minimum age for a parent-supervised account.

From the age of 16, YouTube registration can be done with one's own Google account. However, parental consent is still required for anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 to register with YouTube.

For younger children, parents can set up an account at YouTube Kids . There is no minimum age requirement for the YouTube Kids account.

The video network states in its terms of use that users must be at least 13 years old (as of March 2023).

The social media app requires a minimum age of 13 years (as of March 2023) in its Terms of Use . However, there is no reliable age verification. All persons under the age of 18 require the consent of their legal guardians to create an account. Parental consent is also not verified.

In order to use the streaming service for music, you must be18 years old according to the Terms and Conditions  (as of March 2023). The use from 16 years is allowed, provided that the legal guardians haveagreed . Since mid-2020, the Spotify Kids service has been offered, which may also be used by children and young people and only contains content suitable for this age group. A minimum age is not specified by Spotify. However, Spotify Kids is only accessible if a paid Spotify Premium Family subscription has been taken out.

According to the general terms and conditions, a Neflix account may only be opened from the age of 18 (as of March 2023). Persons under the age of 18 may only use the streaming service under the supervision of an adult. It is recommended that parents create a separate child profile for their children and additionally secure their own profiles. 2020 Netflix has expanded the parental control settings so that each profile can be customized and, for example, protected with a PIN.