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April 12, 2012

Parents be Advised: Kids Under 13 Use Facebook Despite Age Restrictions

By Daniel Brecht, Contributing Writer

Facebook (News - Alert) is an extremely popular social media service, but still has age-based restrictions. In fact, according to the general terms Statement of Rights and Responsibilities page, those under 13 years of age (depending on the country) cannot register for an account.

Even though Facebook's user policy prohibits certain children from using the site, there are many active users today; media reports indicate kids are not being honest about their age so they may create accounts.

The Online Mom suggests there is evidence that shows kids lie about their age in order to open Facebook accounts, and, according to a story published on social network Mashable, possesses a recent survey showing 38 percent of children on Facebook are 12-years old and under.

Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert), is not about to change the age requirement for his social media site, though. PC experts claim it may be to protect children online from acts of cyber bullying, sexual predators or personal habits to communicate or share too much information with strangers.

 

In spite of Zuckerberg’s age policy and online form on the Facebook site to file a report on an underage child, which can put an end to the minors providing false information, there are still millions of Facebook users (7.5 million as found out in the June issue of Consumer Reports) which are below the minimum age requirement. This is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service.

Parents are encouraged to try harder to oversee their children’s computer navigation habits. Young children may see others (family and friends) on Facebook, or any other online social networking site for that matter, and may feel left out and eager to also be part of the Facebook community. This likely explains its rise to popularity for those kids who don’t qualify.

To prevent minors from using Facebook, parents should address their concerns about their kids’ online computer use and educate them about appropriate online behaviors.

Facebook is incredible useful for kids to get in touch with their friends or classmates, share photographs, videos and posts, but age restrictions is not a complete solution to a parents’ concerns about safety and privacy. Parents should know and inform when social media is and isn’t appropriate online behavior, regardless of a child’s age. Kids under 13 are especially prone to providing too much information to public audiences, so parental controls are always at their folks’ disposal.




Edited by Braden Becker
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