Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
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markusgaebler
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Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#1

Post by markusgaebler »

(1) Is it dishonest to give false information (e.g., regarding age) in order to download a certain app or join a social network?

If yes:

(2) How do I deal with it when the most important means of communication in the youth work of the ward and stake is WhatsApp?

Background information: According to the terms of service, the minimum age for WhatsApp in Europe is 16 (see https://faq.whatsapp.com/69531824818562 ... raft=false). That means (statistically speaking) most of the youth are not yet old enough to use it.

I have already spoken to the Bishop, stake president and other youth leaders about this issue, to no avail, for at least the following reasons, I believe:

* lack of practically convenient and generally accepted alternatives, "everyone is using WhatsApp anyway", "Gospel Living App Circles" are buggy/unflexible, ...
* lack of awareness that this actually might be a matter of honesty and not only convenience

I believe this problem will only be solved by an "instruction from above" that minimum age requirements should be adhered to and if a practically convenient alternative is available.

Markus Gäbler
mdigi
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#2

Post by mdigi »

Note: I don't speak or work for the Church. The following are my personal thoughts:

Hi Brother,

I suspect services, like WhatsApp, are asking for their user's age to comply with privacy legislation requirements (i.e. GDPR [enacted in 2018], for the EU).

By default, an EU citizen 16 years of age [or older] CAN give their consent to GDPR -- and that is why WhatsApp is requiring 16 years of age [or older] of their EU users
(versus everywhere else in the world, where WhatsApp officially accepts users having a minimum age of 13 years.)

(Often when dealing with world privacy policies, a quote from a great man comes to mind:
"...do not expect the world’s solutions to the world’s problems to be very effective.")

As you noted, many users [of any service] do not read the terms of service, accidentally (or maybe not so accidentally?) mistype their age when signing up, inherit their device/accounts from a previous owner (who also likely didn't read the TOS), etc...



The Church's policy is to obey the law.

The Church isn't going to require that youth/members install WhatsApp to participate.

If WhatsApp is allowing EU users younger than 16 to use their service, that's for WhatsApp to manage.

You may need to coordinate communication through a youth's parents (who should be able to use email, texting, communication apps, etc.)

Good luck,
A Brother from US

Note: I don't speak or work for the Church. The above are my personal thoughts.
BrianEdwards
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#3

Post by BrianEdwards »

If your local leaders are not responsive to your concerns, then you have realistically done your part, and likely must accept that things locally will be handled in a manner that you strongly disagree with.

Perhaps you have phrased your concerns in terms of "it's against the law", and the "it makes life easier" response is what you get. If instead you phrase it in terms of legal liabilities, like "if anyone goes wrong, then as local leaders you may be legally liable for enabling unauthorized youth to use this for Church purposes", that might generate a different response if they understand it might be themselves that have troubles. Of course it might not change anything, and you might just have to be satisfied with having done your part.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#4

Post by sbradshaw »

markusgaebler wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 4:49 pm (1) Is it dishonest to give false information (e.g., regarding age) in order to download a certain app or join a social network?
Since nobody has given a clear answer to your first question… the answer is Yes.
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.
russellhltn
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#5

Post by russellhltn »

As Member Tools app now supports WhatsApp as a means of contact. I'd be mildly curious if it supports showing the WhatsApp option for someone younger than WhatsApp TOS.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#6

Post by sbradshaw »

russellhltn wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 1:11 pm As Member Tools app now supports WhatsApp as a means of contact. I'd be mildly curious if it supports showing the WhatsApp option for someone younger than WhatsApp TOS.
I doubt that Member Tools enforces the WhatsApp terms of service. Church legal teams and Church systems themselves do have to keep up with and comply with local laws, but the Church is not responsible for what individual members choose to do or not do in third-party apps and services that aren't controlled by the Church. Keeping up with always-changing laws is hard enough, I couldn't imagine the complexity of keeping track of terms of service for various third party apps that members might use, which are based on but not always the same as the laws, and change frequently. Would we have to make sure that Google's terms of use were followed by a member before adding a Gmail email address to their membership record, and would we have to figure out which cell carrier a member uses to check the terms of use there before adding a phone number? :)
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.
markusgaebler
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#7

Post by markusgaebler »

Thank you for your answers and advice.

Well, my main concern about this issue is that youth parents as well as ward and stake youth leadership are encouraging our youth to be dishonest. I do not want to support that.

To me it just seems ironically wrong that when applying for a temple recommend the youth are asked if they are striving to be honest, but then, when trying to get involved in and informed about the actual temple trip they have to be dishonest.

Why does it matter to me? Well, I am effected as a

(1) parent with youth below the age of 16
(2) seminary teacher who is not a member of the "semi-official" seminary WhatsApp group,
(3) ward technology specialist who is also responsible for counseling the ward in technology matters.

I am just wondering if there is anything a can do to encourage a change at least in the medium run. I mean, if the circles function from the Gospel Living App were a real practical alternative that would definitely help ...

Thanks again from Germany
Markus Gäbler
russellhltn
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Re: Honesty and minimum age for apps and/or social media

#8

Post by russellhltn »

markusgaebler wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 4:49 pm I have already spoken to the Bishop, stake president and other youth leaders about this issue, to no avail,
Until there's a change in leadership, I think you've run out of options.

If by chance you get the ear of a visiting authority, you might mention that to him.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.
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