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POLL: Should Children Be Able To Use Facebook?

The social-networking site is apparently mulling over the idea.

 

Facebook is developing technology that would allow those under the age of 13 to access the site under parental supervision, a move that could help bring in a sea of new users for revenue but that could also increase privacy concerns, according to a report in Monday's Wall Street Journal.

The technology being tested would allow children's accounts to be tied to their parents' accounts so that parents would decide whom their children could "friend." New kid-friendly features also could allow Facebook and its partners to bill parents for games and other entertainment accessed by their kids.

Currently Facebook bans those under the age of 13.

But several studies show that many kids use Facebook despite the ban, often with their parents' consent.

For example, a 2011 Consumer Reports survey discovered that 7.5 million people younger than 13 already use the site.

As a result, some argue that the ban should be removed so that adults could work more openly with their children on the issue of social networking.

Technology journalist Larry Magid wrote in The Huffington Post that: "Whether we like it or not, millions of children are using Facebook, and since there doesn't seem to be a universally effective way to get them off the service, the best and safest strategy would be to provide younger children with a safe, secure and private experience that allows them to interact with verified friends and family members without having to lie about their age."

But many have criticized the idea of lifting the ban.

Common Sense Media, an advocacy group, compared Facebook to "Big Tobacco."

"With the growing concerns and pressure around Facebook's business model, the company appears to be doing whatever it takes to identify new revenue streams and short-term corporate profits to impress spooked shareholders," the group's CEO, James Steyer, said in a statement.

"But here's the most important issue: There is absolutely no proof of any meaningful social or educational value of Facebook for children under 13. Indeed, there are very legitimate concerns about privacy as well as the impact on the social, emotional and cognitive development of children. What Facebook is proposing is similar to the strategies used by Big Tobacco in appealing to young people—try to hook kids early, build your brand, and you have a customer for life.

"What's next? Facebook for toddlers?"

No doubt parents and their kids have endured many a heated discussion over Facebook in recent years as the site has grown in popularity.

Earlier this year, a YouTube video was created by an angry father who, when fixing his daughter’s computer, came across her long Facebook rant about family life. He was so mad about her post that he spilled his own rant, which he promised to post on his daughter's Facebook wall. For his grand finale, the dad pulled out a gun and shot his daughter's laptop to pieces.

The YouTube video became an instant sensation.

What do you think? Take our poll and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Erin C June 08, 2012 at 03:21 AM
I could not agree more. I for one have my facebook completely strapped down in privacy settings so only people I give my actually facebook address to can find it. I only add people I actually know in real life and mainly use it to keep in touch with friends from high school and college. If we (in general) were to keep children's accounts locked down like I do and restrict their account to family and perhaps friends from school, I see little issue. As long as parents are doing their job and supervising their child on the site (like they should be doing for ANY internet usage at that age), there is no reason for a child to avoid one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends or family who live far away!
Erin C June 08, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Interesting but not surprising fact about Nadia Comenici. Very well said, I agree. Not quite the same but similar... My parents would let me have a tiny glass of wine at dinner on special occasions and have a beer or a mixed drink when i was in middle school and such. Because drinking was never a big deal in our house, I was never into the 'party scene' in high school or even college. If I DID go to a party, I knew my limits and was really safe about it because I knew my parents would rather I call them and say "hey, I had a drink and it was too much, can you pick me up". I feel the same way about facebook. If we "hide" it and make it taboo for the younger kids all they will want to do is jump right in and do OMGASMUCHASPOSSIBLE right away when they turn 13 and can make their own account. I know I babbled a bit and I'm sorry but I hope you understand what I was trying to get across!
Erin C June 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I for one have my facebook completely strapped down with privacy settings so only people I give my actually facebook address to can find it. I only add people I know in real life and mainly use it to keep in touch with friends from high school and college. If we (in general) were to keep children's accounts locked down like I do and restrict their account to family and perhaps friends from school, I see little issue. As long as parents are doing their job and supervising their child on the site (like they should be doing for ANY internet usage at that age), there is no reason for a child to avoid one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends or family who live far away!
heena August 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
not nice
Ridgewood Dad August 31, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Honestly you're all just wasting your time. Kids are going to make facebooks if they want to, and there isn't much you can do other than not allow it at home in your vision. Good luck with the online arguing though, I'm sure it's productive.

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