Print 31 comment(s) - last by dhmgejs.. on Jun 9 at 1:54 PM

Facebook is looking to bypass privacy/safety issues and make a little money in the process

Facebook already has over 900 million users, but it's looking to grab the attention of a new age group -- children under 13.

Currently, Facebook bans its social networking services to those under the age of 13. Users are required to fill in their date of birth when creating a Facebook account, ensuring that all who join are over that age limit. Facebook does this because of privacy concerns, where children could potentially be exposed to inappropriate content shared on the site or be contacted by strangers.

However, many children lie when filling in their birth date to bypass Facebook's "13 or older" rule. In fact, Consumer Reports said that 7.5 million children under the age of 13 had a Facebook account last year. Over 5 million users under the age of 10 had a Facebook page as well. Another study, conducted by Microsoft, showed that 36 percent of parents were aware that their children under the age of 13 had joined the social network.

This puts Facebook in an awkward position because people have found a way around its rules, which could potentially put children in danger. Inevitably, people would blame Facebook for a child's harm despite the disclaimer that users must be 13 years of age or older.

Now, Facebook is looking for ways to allow this younger age group to join without worrying about privacy and safety. A couple of solutions include connecting children's Facebook accounts to their parents', where their activity could be monitored, and parental controls where a child's parents can see and control every aspect of the child's Facebook experience, including who they become friends with.

"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," said Facebook. "We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policy makers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment."

This new move could benefit Facebook a few different ways. Not only does this cover Facebook in the event of a dangerous situation happening to a child, but drawing this age group in could also mean dollar signs in the way of gaming.

Last year, Zynga, which is a game development company associated with Facebook, made up 12 percent of the social network's $3.7 billion revenue. Facebook users play Zynga's games through Facebook and pay for certain features of the game if they please. Bringing children under 13 to the site could give the gaming sector of the social network a major boost.

While this seems like a great financial revelation for Facebook, it will have to deal with child privacy groups first. Some have already expressed concern with Facebook's latest idea, saying that the vast site is no place for children.

Facebook must also face a pending review by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is considering applying the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 and regulating what information can be taken from children on the Internet. With Facebook constantly collecting information from its users, this could be a big issue.

Facebook is always looking for new ways to engage its audience. For instance, there are rumors that the social network plans to release its first smartphone next year, where it will provide the software and HTC may provide the hardware. With Facebook stretching into every realm of our lives, it will be difficult keep children away from the site for long.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Get 'em young!
By martyrant on 6/4/2012 10:52:32 AM , Rating: 4
Steve Jobs gave schools Macs in the 80s/early 90s for a reason. Get 'em young!

Corporations are always looking for new ways to exploit, no matter who the target it is and who's protecting them.

In reality, Facebook started only for college users, who really just used it to stalk or meet potential hook ups, harass, and be obnoxious...seems like a good place for a child under the age of 13 to be.

I personally stopped using it years ago because I saw the direction it was going, but it's good to see the masses using something that really isn't beneficial in any way or form (people always say "but it's a great way to keep up on people's lives!")...these are people in reality, you would never call, or talk to, outside of being able to anonymously look at, stare, and stalk their movements online...If you want to know how someone is can still pick up the phone and call that person and talk to them.

I think we're just going to be a bunch of socially awkward tool bags in the future.

Thanks, Facebook.

RE: Get 'em young!
By unsprung on 6/4/2012 11:09:23 AM , Rating: 4
(people always say "but it's a great way to keep up on people's lives!")

For acquaintances, which is what most "friends" on Facebook actually are, you're probably half right with your whole point. For family and old friends(real ones) when you live in a different country, it actually is a good way to keep up.

RE: Get 'em young!
By KFZ on 6/4/2012 12:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
I still remember the Apple IIe as the first computer my little fingers ever touched. OK, so Oregon Trail wasn't very educational, but when I typed assignments and watched humbly as a dot matrix printer shrieked out the poor graphics and obtuse font that was my work, I didn't realize at the time that it was good exposure to emerging technology.

Today, kids are exposed to gutter trash over Xbox Live and terabytes of pornography just keywords away. In a world where everyone is too caught up in their own worlds and it's impossible to keep children safe within theirs, I give it up to modern parents. Life was not necessarily better "back in the day", nor is parenting ever easy, but it sure as hell was simpler before the Internet.

Good parenting abides all.

RE: Get 'em young!
By FITCamaro on 6/4/2012 2:24:34 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Get 'em young!
By ATrigo on 6/4/2012 7:45:56 PM , Rating: 3
Children are no to be kept safe. They are to be taught how to make themselves safe. Parents should worry on how to teach their kids to be wise and fend by themselves... instead of worrying if the world provides unbreakable little glass jars for them [the kids] to be forgotten.

RE: Get 'em young!
By pakigang on 6/5/2012 3:36:40 AM , Rating: 3
either you don't have kids or have no experience with kids. They need to be kept safe before they get mature enough to understand responsibility. Its a repeat course of teaching them till that age.

RE: Get 'em young!
By FITCamaro on 6/4/2012 2:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
Todays Apple's don't in any way compare with those in the 80s and 90s. Apple has the market share it has because a) they legitimately had better, faster machines for content creation prior to switching to Intel processors and its still riding that train and b) image.

That said, Facebook for those under 13 is ridiculous and personally if I was a parent, I would refuse my kid access. I don't care if it would make them "uncool". I hope if they do offer access, they make a provision be that parents must give consent in some secure, not easily bypassed way.

I know ultimately anyone can get around anything if they want to enough. But doesn't mean parents shouldn't try if they choose to.

RE: Get 'em young!
By NellyFromMA on 6/4/12, Rating: 0
RE: Get 'em young!
By Reclaimer77 on 6/4/12, Rating: 0
In related news...
By Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer on 6/4/2012 12:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
...tobacco companies want children under 13 to smoke.

I mean, seriously, the sooner you get kids addicted to something, whether it be Facebook or cigarettes, the more likely they are to stay addicted...

RE: In related news...
By FITCamaro on 6/4/2012 2:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
I for one have gotten completely tired of anti-smoking ads. Anyone who does not know how bad cigarettes are for you does not have a functioning brain. This continued campaign, paid for by cigarette companies themselves by government mandate, is absurd.

How in the hell it is legal that an industry should pay to kill itself off is beyond me. Just another example of judicial activism in my view. We have the message and we know its bad for us. People obviously still choose to smoke. The continued ads are just ridiculous and annoying.

PS - I have never smoked a single cigarette in my life because I find the smell to be disgusting.

RE: In related news...
By 1prophet on 6/4/2012 9:33:11 PM , Rating: 2
They're not paying to kill themselves since the ads are not effective, one movie star, singer, bad boy with a cigarette (at the must go to party) in their mouth can cancel the effects of 10,000 ads.

The tobacco industry settlement was a farce just like the no smoking campaign, they purposely ensured that during the settlements by not allowing effective ads against them paid by the settlement money.

And governments make so much money off cigarette sales they definitely won't kill them off, just another two faced farce the sheeple have fallen for.

Coming next year
By geddarkstorm on 6/4/2012 11:39:13 AM , Rating: 2
Baby's first Facebook (TM).

RE: Coming next year
By amanojaku on 6/4/2012 7:41:26 PM , Rating: 2

Depends on the kid and the parent
By RicheemxX on 6/4/2012 8:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
Not all kids and parents are created equal. Some parents that shelter their children from the online world and don't teach them of what to look out for certainly shouldn't have kids that are online let alone on FB. At the same time some kids just aren't ready for the harshness that goes along with anonymous online life and shouldn't be allowed.

I have friends that let their kids on FB now. They are GOOD parents though and do what they can to lock down their accounts and pay attention to what their kids are doing. They aren't letting them sneak off places and chat with people they don't know. They don't let me post pics use location services or pay for games.

Good parenting teaches kids what to look out for. Bad parenting means your kids will just do it behind your back and are more likely to get wrapped up into something they shouldn't be.

By RicheemxX on 6/4/2012 8:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
I should also say, FB should be limited to any user information it can collect on any user under 18. In fact they shouldn't be allowed to collect any at all!! Now should they be allowed apps like their new camera app that requires location data be turned on. Under age users and their location information should not be accessible or visible in anyway on FB.

Open it up!
By Stuka on 6/4/2012 12:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
There's no reason to keep the kids off entirely. You just make them completely invisible to all users other than friends. The idea of linking it to a parent's account is a good idea. This should be the case for any user under 18, which I thought it was already anyway. For a user to friend a child they should have to enter their full name as it was registered, their location and parents' first name(s). Then the request goes to the parent's account to verify, and only after that is the friend added to the user's list. All activity is mirrored on a secondary wall on the parent's account.

Parents always complained that they can't know what their child is doing all the time... here we have a tool that can put a dent in that complaint. When we were younger we used to say, "My dad will kill me" when we did something because we knew that they'd know somehow. That fear has disappeared in recent years due to many factors. It's time to put the fear back and regain some control. At the same time you are letting your child expand into a digital world that is the future of communication and knowledge sharing, whether us old SOBs like it or not.

I don't see the big deal
By GatoRat on 6/5/2012 4:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
When I was a kid back in the age of dinosaurs (before any computer games) we did many things my parents didn't know about, but which would freak out many of the hand wringers out there.

I actually know more about what my kids were doing than my parents or those of my friends. I pretty much gave my kids complete freedom online, but kept tabs on their online activities. I rarely had anything to worry about. (The biggest problem was when a music site they liked to visit was taken over by virus packages.) The real irony is that my twenty-something oldest son is doing dumber things now than he ever did in his teens.

By dhmgejs on 6/9/2012 1:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
I've stopped using facebook and just use sgrouples now for my family. Theres no user data tracking or selling

Keeping Kids Safe...
By marty9999 on 6/4/2012 3:09:49 PM , Rating: 1
If you are looking for full parental control that monitors & controls everything kids do online (including Facebook) , as well as blocks inappropriate websites, and does linguistic analysis to watch out for dangerous behavior -
such as internet predators or cyberbullys -
check out McGruff SafeGuard's Parental Control system:

You may remember McGruff “The Crime Dog” - Take A Bite Out of Crime - from your own childhood

For FREE iPad/iPhone parental control, check out

There Are...
By mmatis on 6/4/2012 10:12:26 PM , Rating: 1
already children under the age of 13 with Facebook accounts.

By AMDftw on 6/4/12, Rating: -1
By amanojaku on 6/4/2012 10:54:52 AM , Rating: 2

By Brandon Hill on 6/4/2012 11:05:47 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of daughters and potential rapists...

By kmmatney on 6/4/2012 11:35:52 AM , Rating: 1
That's why you don't let your kids your on Facebook - there are too many other asshole kids out there. Luckily my 3 kids (ages 8, 11, 13) have had no interest in Facebook so far, so I haven't had to deal with this sort of crap.

By MrBlastman on 6/4/2012 11:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
Back when I was a kid, if a parent did something like that or not quite as extreme to a bully, he crybaby brat would have run home to his parents whining and at best, a fistfight might have occured later on between the parents as a result. Cops would never have been called or involved.

These days, all the d-bags have all the rights because their d-bag attorneys have sued their way into it being this way. The little punk got what was coming to him. However, if that mom were _really_ smart, she'd have enrolled her daughter in a self defense class and his family jewels would have ended up as family rasins. Then again... d-bag attorneys would figure out a way to ruin even that.

Yeah, society sucks these days... and yet, we continue to have tools vote for the further pussification of our country.

As for kids on Facebook... sounds like a total recipe for failure to me... a child predator's playground. While they might link the kids profiles to their parents, most parents these days are too busy both working and earning tons of money to pay any time at all to what their children do. The "house," "car," and fancy "stuff" are worth far more than their own flesh and blood.

By Dr of crap on 6/4/2012 12:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree more.
Our country has sunk to such pussified levels it rediculious!

You can't have a fist fight anymore without someone getting charged with something.

Oh, for the good old days when a father could straighten up his kids the right way.....

By FITCamaro on 6/4/2012 3:53:09 PM , Rating: 1
I'll probably be going to jail since I fully plan to spank my kids the way my parents spanked me. With a belt. Assuming they misbehave, which they undoubtedly will.

By Dr of crap on 6/4/2012 4:09:17 PM , Rating: 1
Way to go. Worked with my kids.

Screw the neighbors, teachers, and whoever and tell them they are accident prone!

By kattanna on 6/4/2012 10:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't feel comfortable having my daughter on that site. To many rapist and child molester on their now

considering the vast majority of child molestation happens at home or within the family, I take it you then also have her hidden away from all family and friends?

By geddarkstorm on 6/4/2012 11:40:07 AM , Rating: 3
Facebook has to get new users from somewhere, right?

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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