Should children under 13 be allowed on Facebook?

Last week, The New York Times, looked into a report by “Consumer Reports” that said that more then seven million children under the age of 13 have Facebook profiles. This goes against a Federal law which prohibits websites from obtaining personal information about kids under 13 without their parents permission.

The article said that Facebook CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg is looking to have the law reversed and the company has “tripled its spending on lobbying, formed a political action committee and hired former Bush and Obama officials to push for its agenda.” Facebook is making these agressive moves just as Congress is looking to pass a bill called “Do Not Track Kids.” According to the article this bill would “bar websites outright from using kids’ data to target ads to them until they are 17.”

Facebook has recently made some concessions when it comes to their default privacy settings for teenagers according to the article. While adults’ profiles default privacy settings are set to public, teenagers’ settings are set to “friends” and “friends of friends.”

According to the article Facebook is looking to generate younger users because “the younger the child, the greater the opportunity to build brand loyalty that might transcend the next social-media trend. And crucially, signing up kids early can accustom them to “sharing” with the big audiences that are at their small finger tips.”

As parents do you believe it is the governments responsibility to prohibit your children from using Facebook or other social media sites?

There is definitely two legitimate sides to this argument. Many people would agree that there should be strict privacy restrictions for Facebook profiles under the age of 18, and even stricter for younger children. However isn’t it important for these children to learn how to appropriately use social media to their advantage? Social media is not a fad and is only evolving and becoming a stronger part of our every day lives. By the time today’s young children are ready to join the work force, being able to effectively use social media may be a crucial aspect of their job.

Is there a compromise for social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and the legal system, where children will be able to enjoy and learn from the benefits of social media without being exposed to the collecting of all of their personal data?

Adoption STAR recently published a guide to adjusting your Facebook privacy settings, you may also want to review Adoption STAR’s suggestions to having a healthy relationship via social media as a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee.

Click here to read the full New York Times article.