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Are there any age limit restrictions for contributors? Can children under 18 contribute to the maps? Thank you for your time.

Best, Jyothi

asked 16 Dec '16, 16:29

JyothiM's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 17 Dec '16, 20:51

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

Just to add to this answer: as Andy has pointed out you need to able to enter in to a contract in the specific case our Contributor Terms. This could potentially be done by the parents of the minor, however we do not cater for this in the sign up procedure at the current time, nor do we specifically cater for minors at all.

Historically the later is mainly due to the original US COPPA regulation which created issues for web sites that catered for sub-13 minors (which for example includes actually knowing the age). The regulation was revised in 2011 and I believe causes far less issues now, however nobody has had the time and/or money to do the research and develop a means to facilitate sign ups of minors.

As this topic has been re-surfaced, I might as well update this answer:

The introduction of the GDPR added some hard limits on providing services to children, outside of just the realm of contracts, and these have been reflected in the OSMF terms of use. See for more information.

permanent link

answered 20 Dec '16, 08:28

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 13 May '20, 12:29


It would be good to get clarification on this. There are a few teenagers editing in my area, some of them even creating maps.

Whose role would it even be to clarify this?

(21 Dec '16, 11:47) Stereo

This article would suggest that under English common law a minor (i.e. person under the age of 18) has the legal capacity to enter into a contract with an adult. However, the contract is only binding on the adult, not the minor. The Minors Contracts Act and common law limits the circumstances where a contract is binding on a minor. Some website operators try to prevent minors, or people less than a certain age, such as 13 years old, from using their websites without a parent or guardian's consent because they do not want to take on the legal risk of having a contract with a minor or younger person that they cannot enforce or need to comply with other legislation that is intended to protect those younger people. But English law itself does not prevent a contract existing with a minor. Otherwise nobody under the age of 21 could use the internet because almost all website "terms of use" contracts are implicitly entered into as soon as a person uses the website.

(31 Dec '16, 22:44) Huttite

I signed up a long time ago I don't remember seeing any age limits. I presume you signed up more recently, did you see any age restriction. EDIT Unfortunately it seems that young people can't comply with this. Sadley.

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answered 16 Dec '16, 21:22

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 16 Dec '16, 21:37


There seems to be plenty of stuff on the web which suggests that minors (under 18s) can enter into contracts from the age of 7 in law of England & Wales. What is in doubt is the enforceability of such contracts, which as the link you gave shows is unlikely to be an issue for OSM/OSMF. Other countries will have different rules.

(17 Dec '16, 14:09) SK53 ♦ mentions "This Agreement shall be governed by English law without regard to principles of conflict of law." - does that mean it is only the English law (age of 7) SK53 mentions that applies, or will it also matter about the laws in the country where the contributor is based?

(19 Dec '16, 08:02) EdLoach ♦

Thank you for your response. The article you pointed to does indicate that parents or guardians can agree on minor's behalf to make the contract legally binding. I wish this was indicated on the sign up page. I just tried signing up with another email but there is no mention of age or requiring a parent to approve. Not sure how to get minors between the ages 16 and 18 sign up when there is no place on the sign up page for parental approval.

Thank you again for your response!

(20 Dec '16, 01:12) JyothiM

The condition of Legal Capacity depends on country. In Norway it is 14yr as far as I know, while in Brazil it is 18. Many social media have set limits to 13yrs because accepting the terms can be considered as signing a contract, and most countries does not accept contracts signed by minors of 13yr as valid. Because of different laws, it is difficult to set a specific limit.

(21 Dec '16, 12:01) Skippern

I don't think the issue is one of legal capacity to enter into a valid contract. But more an issue of whether the contract can be binding on the person who is younger than a given age or the additional risks and obligations that website operators are exposed to if they do sign up people who are younger than a legislated age.

Shopkeepers have been selling sweets to children for centuries and every one of those sales is a valid contract with the shopkeeper to provide sweets to the value of the amount paid by the child. The child pays the money, the shopkeeper provides the sweets. No money, no sweets. But a shopkeeper won't provide credit to the child without an adult's agreement, because there is no guarantee the child could pay as the credit contract is not binding on the child, only an adult.

This is the same issue that website operators are presented with.

(31 Dec '16, 23:04) Huttite

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question asked: 16 Dec '16, 16:29

question was seen: 5,723 times

last updated: 15 Mar '22, 06:29

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum