Blog for hpHosts, and whatever else I feel like writing about ....

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Facebook Wants Your Pre-Teen

My other half, though in her 20's, is also part of the "share it all" and "it'll never happen to me" generation, despite being as paranoid and insecure as heck about everything (though generally only paranoid about what her friends think, what I think etc, rather than things that actually matter). Drives me up the wall, especially given she should be mature enough to know better.

Kids are already being brought up to "share it all" and "it'll never happen to me", and have been since I was a child. However, with the introduction of the "internet to the world", and more and more reliance on technology for everything from education to the simple act of talking to friends, and a major lack of education and monitoring by the parents (who alas are even worse than the kids they're meant to be looking after, and raising to be responsible), things are only going to get worse - especially if companies such as Facebook and Google et al, have their way.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.

If you look at the terms of service for many websites you’ll find they claim users under 13 are not allowed. This is required to protect themselves against COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act). Even the search engine notes “you may not register for the Community feature or create a user profile if you are under 13.” At the same time they market various products towards kids including Zwinky and Smiley Central using an invasive toolbar.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now recommending removing the under-13 restrictions. Mark’s main reason is education. I have no doubt the first lesson kids will learn is how easy it is to give away your personal information and get scammed. Then again, they might think it’s normal for Facebook to post messages to all their friends without their approval.

I haven’t talked to many people who think Facebook should be open to children under 13. That includes all the parents who already allow their pre-teens to have a Facebook account. Their response is always be how they supervise what their kids are doing online so it’s ok. If you think it’s ok for kids under 13 to create a Facebook profile or your pre-teen already has an account click comments below and share your opinion.

No comments: