Millions of kids under 10 on Facebook, says Consumer Reports

Your kid who spends a lot of time parked at the computer might just be dealing with a spate of FarmVille requests, an upcoming Consumer Reports report has found.

According to the watchdog magazine, the site is crawling with millions of users under the site’s minimum age of 13, and one in three of those ankle-biters is actually under the age of 10. The report also indicates that out of the site’s many under-10-years-old members, less than one in five were Facebook friends with a parent.

Consumer Reports listed some of the findings, which predictably attempt to invoke the cyberbullying panic:

  • Of the 20 million minors who actively used Facebook in the past year, 7.5 million—or more than one-third—were younger than 13 and not supposed to be able to use the site.
  • Among young users, more than 5 million were 10 and under, and their accounts were largely unsupervised by their parents.
  • One million children were harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on the site in the past year.

Facebook uses birthdate verification to weed out rugrats, but the crafty youngsters have concocted a way around that by lying about their age. Credit card verification was mentioned as a possible barrier to entry, which seems like a bit of a giant accident waiting to happen, as well as kind of classist and prohibitive and generally a stupid way to determine if someone is over the age of 13.

Have you gotten or allowed Facebook accounts for your kids? Do you think that there is much danger lurking on the site for children in general?

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