Facebook considers 'friending' kids 12 and younger -- with parental controlsJun-05-2012
It's no secret that Facebook is lousy with kids ages 12 and under - despite the social network's Terms of Service requiring members to be at least 13. What's more, several studies show that plenty of kids who lie about their age to join, do so with the permission of their parents, and even their help. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is exploring ways to give kids access while being mindful of government regulations and safety concerns:
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, people who have spoken with Facebook executives about the technology said. 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.
Facebook and other popular social sites that operate in the United States currently maintain an age limit to avoid the cumbersome restrictions of the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires commercial websites to get parental permission before collecting the personal information of any user under the age of 13. COPPA can't protect kids who join in violation of Facebook's rules anyway, and so concerns such as privacy, online predators and bullying remain.
Repeating the statement provided to the WSJ, Facebook told msnbc.com: "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."
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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM
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