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Kids 13 & Under Could Join Facebook Soon: What Are the Risks?

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COPPA requires websites to “obtain verifiable parental consent” before collecting the private information of children under 13 but does not prevent websites like Facebook (which, like MySpace and other social media sites, came into existence after COPPA was enacted) from admitting children under 13. As Magid writes, sites like Facebook, Google+ and others block pre-teens from using them. Age limits are specified in their terms of service and prospective members must provide their date of birth to join — but such is usually the only sort of age verification requested, as other sorts of verification tools potentially  have “unintended security and privacy consequences such as the risk of leaking the names and ages of children.”

Magid notes that the FTC is reviewing COPPA, with some wanting its controls extended to those 18 and over and others calling for it to be liberalized.

But it is not only privacy concerns that parents and all of us should be concerned about as Facebook seeks to open its service to children 13 and under. The Wall Street Journal notes that doing so could “help the company tap a new pool of users for revenue.” With Facebook tracking our every “like” and the words in status updates and comments, not to mention the vast trove of personal data it has from users, making its site accessible to children under 13 should be seen as what it is: A business decision intended to help shore up the company’s profits. Facebook’s share price fell to a new record low today ($26.57) after a report from Sanford Bernstein gave it an underperform rating and a $25 target price.  ”It is difficult to argue for owning the stock today,” the report’s author, analyst Carlos Kirjner wrote.

It is not difficult to see why Facebook might be wishing to add to its 900 million users.

 

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41 comments

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10:51AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

dumb. so dumb. kids just lie about their birthdays and get on anyway. i know elementary school kids on fb. My own Uncle allowed my two young cousins to join then had the AUDACITY to send long messages to me bitching about how my being pro LGBT rights and an atheist were inappropriate content for his impressionable angels. He forced them to block me bc he did not agree with my views. I have been shut out of their lives. All because he allowed two small kids to be on a site too mature for them to begin with. If your child sees fb posts you dont like, that is YOUR fail, not a fail for the person who posted it. Because children shouldn't be permitted to be put in a place where they can view said material

1:44AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

They already are, thank you for article.

1:43AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

They already are, thank you for article.

1:42AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

They already are, thank you for article.

5:55AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

Kids under 13 already use Facebook, they just lie and give a different age. I joined Facebook before I was 13- I wasn't addicted to it, didn't use it every day and was just like any other normal child. If a parent allows a child to sit on Facebook for the whole day and speak to strangers then its their fault.

8:33PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

this is insane!!

8:26AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

What did we do in the past w/o FaceBook? Life went on w/o it. If you can't come to live w/o FB, at least try to control what you divulge about yourself. After all, once it is out there, you no longer have much control as to the use/or abuse of that info.

We, you live in a nation and now a world where our masters control our near every action as if they were Pavlov and we were the dogs.

Not all is lost...That is, there is a bright side to this story. Did any of notice that all 3 children are using MacBook Pro's, it appears that not all is lost.

4:42PM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

facebook already has addicting games, and kids are already online all the time, and not just internet but they are always involved with some kind of electronics, video games, cell phones, i pads, they hardly ever go outside like they need to. like George Carlin said, "does a kid even know what a stick is anymore"

1:17AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Those radiating, electricity-emitting computers on their laps are the biggest danger.

11:24PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Just what we need children on a site that is over run by sex perverts.
Pedophilia or recruiting agents for these perverts.
I say no on Facebook for children.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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