Let’s be honest with ourselves for one moment, children under the age of 13 are already using Facebook, however they are doing it outside of the social networks terms of service, using fake ages to sign up for an account and communicate with friends. Now Facebook is mulling over the idea of allow children under the age of 13 to sign up, potentially with built-in parental supervision to ensure each child’s online safety.
Parental controls could include the option for parents to choose which Facebook apps their children download and use and even allow parents to accept friends which would then appear on their child’s Facebook account, options that could keep prying eyes off a child’s account under strict parental guidelines.
The move comes at a time when a reported 7.5 million kids are already using Facebook improperly with even more children expected to create accounts as they realize how easy lying about their age has become when signing up for online accounts.
A study is 2011 revealed that 36% of parents already known their non-yet-13-year-old kids are on Facebook and in many cases the parent helped their child create the Facebook account they are not suppose to be using
Opponents of the plan say Mark Zuckerberg and his team should simply provide parents with better information as to why they should not allow their children to use a social networking website.
In the meantime Facebook would benefit by knowing the real age of their users, information they could use for better ad targeting which would ultimately bring in more revenue for the social network. By opening up the Facebook platform to younger users Facebook would also likely grow its overall user base as a more rapid rate as the social network nears 1 billion global users.
Facebook quite often discusses potential new technology and many of those discussions never lead to technology that sees the light of day, it is still unclear how far into parental control options Facebook had gone.