Facebook Plans to Open the Network to Children

Aug 20, 2014

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Facebook wants more users and might be targeting a much younger audience. The company filed a patent for a system that would allow children to have access to Facebook, as long as they were supervised by parents. If implemented, this new system would have to comply with the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Currently, Facebook does not allow users under the age of 13 to join. However, this has not stopped millions of children from signing up. Although it is against the rule, younger kids can easily create a Facebook account because it is difficult for the company to truly verify a person’s age online. Facebook estimates that there are approximately 5.6 million accounts for underage users and in 2012 they removed 800,000 children from the network in an attempt to enforce their age limitations.

Under the new patented system, parents might be allowed to authorize and supervise a child’s Facebook account. Parents would have to verify their identity and relationship with the child before creating the child’s account. The supervising parent would then have specific parental controls and could restrict access to some content types.

Facebook has said that right now it is only researching this possibility and does not indicate any future plans. However, it could be an indication of Facebook’s intentions of capturing a younger audience and marketing to them. Opening up a social network as big as Facebook to younger children poses a big threat because of child predators, cyberbullying, and other negative aspects of social media.

If your kids have Facebook or any other social media account, Net Nanny Social is a way to monitor your child’s activity, including friends they have, comments, and pictures that are posted.

Source: http://hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2014/06/03/facebook-developing-plans-for-children-to-join-the-social-networ/