Next to Join Facebook: Kids Under 13?

Site explores online child-safety measures

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 4, 2012 8:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook has long banned kids under 13, but that could be about to change: The site is investigating ways to let children join—with built-in parental supervision. For instance, kids' accounts might be tied to those of their parents; mom and dad could get control over what apps kids can use and who they can friend. Doing so would give the site a chance to boost its number of users and rake in new revenue by edging in on the kids' games market.

Reports suggest that 7.5 million kids are improperly on Facebook anyway, and the site is facing growing criticism over kids' ability to lie their way online. And mom and dad aren't always in the dark: A 2011 study found 36% of parents knew their not-yet-teen is on Facebook, and a chunk of those parents helped their kid create an account. Still, observers are divided over the appropriate course of action: While Maryland's attorney general has called on the site to create a "safe space" for kids, others say Zuck and Co. should simply ramp up its communication with parents about why the site isn't the right place for youngsters. But the Wall Street Journal notes that the site frequently explores new technologies that never come to pass, so there's no guarantee the plan will actually ever happen.

Facebook is looking into getting younger kids online.
Facebook is looking into getting younger kids online.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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