Facebook is reportedly considering changing its rules to allow children under 13 to join the social network. The Wall Street Journal reports the company is exploring ways to allow kids to safely access the site, but with greater parental oversight. Among the options Facebook is eyeing is one that would allow parents to decide whom their kids “friend” and what applications they can use.
To read Facebook’s current policy on minors:
Tweens aren’t supposed to be on Facebook, but the social media site is still accessed by minors. According to a recent report on Consumer Reports, some 5.6 million underage kids have accounts.
Social media execs will argue that the new policies will make it easier for parents to monitor their children’s activities. But the company is going to face an uphill battle convincing skeptics.
Common Sense Media released a statement today:
“[T]here 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.”
Rep. Edward Markey (D) Massachusetts and Rep. Joe Barton (R), Texas, co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg raising their concerns.
“We acknowledge that more and more children under the age of 13 are using Facebook, and this is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, we believe strongly that children and their personal information should not be viewed as a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder.”
Should Facebook allow children under 13 to have accounts?