Facebook Explores Access for Children

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Facebook may be creating a membership option for children under 13, allowing them to access the social site under parental supervision, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

The new membership will allow children under 13 to have accounts that will link to their parents. Parents will be able to control who their children add as friends and which apps they use.

“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,” the statement said. “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.”

Even though Facebook currently restricts users under 13, studies have shown that as much as 38% of children on Facebook are under 12. If Facebook does create a membership for children under 13, it could significantly increase its user base of 900 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a study sponsored by Microsoft Research released last fall found that 36% of parents were aware that their children joined Facebook before age 13 and that a substantial percentage of those parents helped their kids in the effort.

Given the current issues of cyberbulling and child predators, Facebook will need to be careful as it opens up its doors to young children.

What do you think about Facebook creating a new membership for children under 13? Good or bad? Safe or dangerous?

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