Facebook is Going after Your Kids
June 6, 2012
Facebook is researching technology that would allow children 12 and younger to join in on its social networking phenomenon. Right now, members need to be 13 years old to join, but if you think underage kids don’t lie about their age in order to join, then you’re really going to be surprised to find out your 11 year old can probably hack into any password protected account on your laptop (remember that whenever you are making birthday gift lists).
That somewhat gullible approach to parenting is what children and teens rely on, so they can stretch their boundaries. It doesn’t mean you have a bad kid, it just means kids are very curious about all the bad things they’re told not to do, and most children aren’t famous for considering the consequences of their actions until it’s much too late.
Facebook trying to be the good guys?
I know Facebook bashing is all the rage, but before lighting the torches on them, you should be aware that their intentions here are actually on the side of safety. The Wall Street Journal reported the new technology would allow parents to decide who their kids can accept as a friend, and what applications they can use.
The hope is that kids will choose to go with the legal, parental-controlled version of Facebook, with mom or dad supervising and giving clearance on every action they take. That’s much better than what’s no doubt happening now. Underage kids telling a little white lie about their age to gain access to the full-on version, with nobody watching what they say or do in the vast and endless virtual playground. No rules, and no parent okay needed to add a friend or anything else.
Just an introduction course
Susan Bartell, a psychologist and author of The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask, told USA Today that she has other concerns as well. “I really worry that it comes with a false sense of safety. I think too many parents will think their kids are safe on “Baby Facebook” and now they don’t have to monitor them. And after a month or two of that, they’re going to be like, “I’m done with that” and will start a regular Facebook, and Tumblr and Twitter and just use a name their parents don’t know.”
Other concerned critics worry about the enormous privacy issues that already exist on Facebook. So if they can’t protect the flock they’re herding already, why should we trust them to keep the wolves away from our even younger, and more innocent children?
Tell us how you feel. Do you “Like” the new technology idea for Facebook, or should they “Delete” the whole idea?
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