Jared Newman of PC World writes about Mark Zuckerbug’s comments about whether children under 13 should be allowed to join Facebook. Apparently this isn’t on the top of Facebook’s list but “In the future, it makes sense to explore that,” Zuckerberg said. “We would need to try to figure out a lot of ways to make sure they are safe. That’s extremely important. That’s not on the top of the list for things for us to figure out right now.”
Of course, plenty of children under the age of 13 are on Facebook already, as my colleague Tony Bradley pointed out. By Consumer Reports’ estimate, 7.5 million Facebook users are under age 13, and 5 million are under age 10. Short of vigilant parenting, the only thing stopping kids from signing up is an age gate. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that children are capable of lying about their age.
So this whole controversy strikes me as silly. If Facebook wants to create a legitimate process for parents to sign their kids up on the site, that’s wonderful. At least that way, Facebook could set up extra privacy safeguards for young users, such as restrictions on what information can be made public or shared with advertisers. Isn’t that what everyone’s worried about in the first place?
My opinion is that parents should be involved with their kids in the social networking, blogosphere experience no matter what the age, but that pre-teens should not be apart of this because of the adult nature and weirdos out there. I remember when I started using MySpace and at first I kept it a secret from my parents, but then I figured it was better to be honest with them and show them. I think that when parents are involved that it keeps kids from posting somewhat inappropriate or risque photos/posts or the TMI that some people let us all know about. This can also be a way for parents to connect so that they know what there kids are interested in or ‘Like’ in order to start conversations to strengthen their relationships.
What do you think?