Facebook has been closed to anyone aged under 13 until now. One of the primary reasons for this is to let the kids aged less than 13 to stay safe. However, more and more under-13 kids are using Facebook and many of them are doing so with their parents’ consent. And now we have a rumor that Facebook may actually allow under-13s to use the social network. Is the rumor true?
The news was first reported by Sunday Times and the paper quoted Facebook’s head of policy in UK, Simon Milner, as saying that Facebook was actively considering changing its age-restriction policy. He was quoted as saying, “”A lot of parents are happy their kids are on [Facebook]. We would like to hear from people what the answer might be [in a debate on the issue].”
Clearly, the conclusion drawn by the paper was somewhat of an exaggeration and Facebook eventually responded with a statement to Telegraph which read, “All we have said is what we have been saying for months — that minors on Facebook and the internet is an important issue — and we want to work with the broader industry to look at ways of keeping minors safe.”
The issue has grown all the more pertinent since at one side, kids aged under 13 need to be educated and social media is becoming increasingly and critically important for education and social interactions. At the same time, a kid aged under 13 using a social network can be a very vulnerable and anyone with nefarious intent can exploit this presence.
And that is precisely what Facebook seems to be wanting. At one side, it wants everyone to be on the social network eventually. However, at the same time, it wants the experience of using Facebook to be safe and secure for everyone. For that, though, Facebook will need to present itself as a network that places a lot of stress on privacy and security of data and not as someone who’d really want to share users’ data with others.