Is Facebook About To Lure Children?
I sympathize with parents these days, I really do. In this age of social media and Internet bullying, parents must make delicate decisions about their children being online.
If they enforce strict restrictions, parents come off as Luddites who are 'not with the times' and, ultimately, their children miss out on connecting with a whole new world. But giving kids free reign on the Internet puts them at risk of online predators both literal and figurative. It's a decision I wouldn't want to make.
In compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, Facebook currently restricts children under 13 from registering for the site. But let's be honest, any 12-year old with half a brain knows how to enter a fake birthday, not to mention the parents who allow them to do so.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook may be planning technology that would allow children under 13 to register for the site and give parents more control over how their kids use it.
"Mechanisms being tested include connecting children's accounts to their parents' and controls that would allow parents to decide whom their kids can 'friend' and what applications they can use," the article explained, citing anonymous sources familiar with the situation. "The under-13 features could enable Facebook and its partners to charge parents for games and other entertainment accessed by their children, the people said."
In a statement to media outlets, Facebook did not deny looking into this technology, but said they had nothing further to anounce:
"Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services. We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment."
Parents and non-parents alike, what do you think? How young is 'too young' for children to be using social media sites like Facebook? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.