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Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling

Is Social Media a place for the Under 13’s?

As it stands today Facebook has a policy which states that it shouldn’t be used by anyone under 13.

Specifically on the Facebook Help site the help is very clear..

In order to be eligible to sign up for Facebook, people must be 13 years of age or older.
When a user signs up for Facebook they have to acknowledge they are over 13 however why is the age limit set to 13?
The minimum age of 13 is a requirement in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the US. The Act deines that providers are not permitted to collect information about children younger that 13. Whilst clearly this is a US legislation international providers, such as Facebook, have adopted this standard as part of their global terms and conditions of use.
I know of at least 2 family members who are under 13 and have Facebook accounts and to a degree I have to agree with the parents if it is managed as an online activity in a safe manner then it can be an amazing experience for kids. The interaction, communication and learning how the internet works for both good and the bad, gaining an understanding of what it means when you click on a like button or sign up for a group. All very important skills which are needed by kids on the internet today.
I remember growing up and having the latest shoes, toys or in my sister case having your ears pierced were what you hassled your parents about, you nagged at them, broke them down..
Opening the doors to the Internet to pre-teens has huge ramifications as the reasons suggest for the age limit being 13. There is a huge amount of data being collated on your pre 13 users. There is a level of appropriate content build for the 13+ user on this service as well as these are what the rules state the minimum age for a user should be.
I don’t yet have kids and I do often ask myself would I let my kids be on Facebook? I often answer no, i like many others would want my kid(s) to have a childhood, however i fear i’m looking at this though rose coloured glasses. for kids today the internet, media, media consumption is their life , like it or not kids are already a targeted advertising demographic 10 minutes on Cartoon Network with ad breaks longer than the cartoons tells me all i need to know with that.
So if it exists, and peer pressure means kids who are already savvy enough to get on the internet and will do this without their parents knowing anyway are Facebook doing the right thing by looking to open up Facebook as a tool to pre 13 children?
I don’t know that I have the answer to that question, I don’t have kids, what I do know is that the inclusion of the younger generation will have ramifications for the older user. More settings to block and open content incase younger users are watching. This could have a negative effect on the service from the perspective of an older user.. Only time will tell.

Further Reading:

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2012 by in comment, Social Media and tagged , , , , .
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