Facebook is reportedly testing out new features that would allow kids under the age of 13 to join up and have their very own account. Not only will this increase the number of visitors but internet marketing and ppc campaigns will see significant jumps as they move toward a much younger target market. The WSJ.com cites that people who have spoken with Facebook executives about their current project plan to use a set of controls that “allow parents to connect and control their childs account”. They could then approve or deny anyone that “friends” them and/or the applications used. Facebook has been in the spotlight for some time now as known notoriously for having under aged user’s lie about their age. Last June an interesting report from Consumer Reports found “several disturbing findings” regarding Facebook use and under aged kids bypassing the security measures.
- 7.5(over 1/3) of the 20 million minors who use Facebook in the past year were younger then their stated age of being at least 13 years old.
- Facebook’s “youngest users” of 10 & under accounted for roughly 5 users – their accounts were more or less unsupervised by their parents.
- Cyber bullying (harassment, threats, or other forms of personal attacks) affected 1 million children last year.
In a statement, Facebook cited that “it is very difficult to enforce age restrictions on the internet, especially when parents provide kids with the authority to do so.” As with all of the other websites around, enforcing age policies is a very tricky matter for business and corporations.
So how can kids be kept safe from cyber bullying and other harmful material? Some suggest internet safety programs and stricter internet regulations such as providing a birth certificate or driver’s license when signing up for a social media account. More of this will be covered as soon as Facebook goes public with their offering