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Social media giant Facebook claims to close down any account being operated by kids under the age of 13, but is considering ways of making the network available to kids as young as 8 or 10, as it is difficult to combat the wave of youngsters attempting to use it, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Rather than using considerable resources policing the network, Facebook execs have been exploring developing ‘safe’ ways for kids to use it, such as connecting kids' accounts to their parents' accounts and giving parents control over what their children can do on the site, such as whom they can "friend" and what apps they can use.
The report quotes an employee (not authorised to speak on behalf of Facebook) as saying "We have to do something super responsible. We can't afford not to. We are tiptoeing into it.”
Facebook’s dodgy track record
The news is worrying parents, rather than offering them reassurance. Facebook has had many challenges around the security of information (and how much personal information is collected by Facebook), as well as numerous cases of criminal activity including rapes resulting directly from users concealing their real identities.
More worrying still is that even with security measures in place, advertisers are keen to tap into the huge youth market, since Facebook has generated billions via apps such as games already. Parents are concerned that their kids will be exposed to improper and too frequent advertising, leading to compromised financial habits, suggests the report.
That said, there are many parents who consider Facebook safe enough for kids as young as 8, and they’re not too concerned about data collection. They see it as the best way for their kids to keep in touch with their friends, and are happy for their kids to bypass any age restrictions.
What do you think? Should pre-teens be allowed to use Facebook?