An Oireachtas committee has recommended that a minimum age be set for children to create an online account with social media services.

The recommendation is included in a new report from the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media.

Committee members did not agree a specific age.

They have also suggested a ban on advertising to children online including ads on junk food, alcohol and gambling.

TDs and Senators said there should be a prohibition on any form of profiling or tracking of children's data.

The committee held pre-legislative hearings on the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill which provides for the appointment of an Online Safety Commissioner as part of a wider Media Commission to oversee the new regulatory framework for online safety.

The commissioner will govern this new framework through binding online safety codes and robust compliance, enforcement and sanction powers.

Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne said the new commissioner could become one of the most powerful regulators.

He said social media companies could not continue to self-regulate and the State had to step in to protect citizens.

The committee also calls for specific provisions to be made in the Bill for the means of collecting a content levy on streaming services.

This levy is provided for in the European Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which will be transposed into law under the Bill.

Committee members recommended that the proceeds of the levy should go to independent Irish producers.

Chairperson Niamh Smyth said the Bill had immense scope and would place Ireland among the first countries in the world to provide systemic regulation of online platforms.

"We call for an individual complaints mechanism to be established for designated online platforms, for an Online Safety Commissioner to be explicitly included in the legislation," she said.

Members said some social media companies were reluctant to move from self-regulation to an independent system of oversight.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster said the major media companies were quite defensive and reluctant on the individual complaints mechanism.

A spokesperson for Minister Catherine Martin said she would closely examine the committee's recommendation on introducing an individual complaints mechanism.

The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill takes a systems focused approach to online safety regulation.

The Department told the Committee that auditing individual complaints would lead to a huge backlog rendering oversight ineffective.

The Online Safety Commissioner will be given a wide range of powers, including the powers to make binding online safety codes, require the provision of information from designated online services, to investigate suspected non-compliance using authorised officers, and to seek the imposition of sanctions, including financial sanctions of up to €20 million or 10% of turnover.