The change is happening because of the European Union privacy legislation called GDPR that came into force in May, 2018. Legislation sets 16 as the minimum age when a child is capable to sign a contract that allows companies to handle their personal details.
GDPR gives EU member countries freedom to set lower age limit, but most EU countries are currently just in process of adjusting their own country-specific laws, thus, the universal age limit of 16 applies to such countries.
The list of countries that now require the age of 16 or more in order to create a new Google account include Finland, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have already amended their own country-specific legislation and have different age limit than the GDPR standard is.
Google also warns that it can and will delete accounts that have been created with false information, such as incorrect date of birth.
Google account is needed in order to use standard Android phone, YouTube or other Google products, such as Gmail.
Solution is available: Family Link
Unlike most other companies (such as WhatsApp) Google provides a way for guardians to create accounts for their children. The mechanism, dubbed as Family Link, sets an adult as the guardian of the new account. That supervising account is then in charge of account changes, etc. The control of the minor's account returns automatically to the person him-/herself once the person reaches the age of 16.
Instructions on how to create an account for a minor through Family Link can be found here.
Written by: Petteri Pyyny @ 25 Jul 2018 4:00