Posts Tagged ‘Age Restrictions’

Facebook’s Age Restictions are a Joke

July 1, 2012

Facebook are using their own lack 0f vigilance as an excuse to relax very important age restrictions. Instead of giving up on protecting minors, Facebook should try harder to stop under ages kids from accessing their own Facebook page:

Facebook is still mulling over whether to open its doors to those aged under 13, but in Malaysia, nearly 250,000 children, some as young as seven, have already signed up on the world’s biggest social network.

The young Internet users, like millions worldwide, have managed to avoid the age-restriction ruling by lying about their age, sometimes with the help of their parents.


Teachers Concerned About Violent Video Games

March 28, 2012

Whenever teachers dispense parenting advice, the outcome is almost never a positive one. As much as I agree that children who are exposed to violent movies and video games are worse for it, I think it is essential that teachers spend less time judging parents and more time concentrating on the curriculum.

Still, in a perfect world, parents should reflect on some of the criticisms conveyed by teachers:

School pupils are being allowed to stay up until the early hours of the morning playing games that are inappropriate for their age, said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

She said many parents were failing to adhere to age-restrictions on the most violent games, raising concerns that children are growing up desensitised to aggression and bloodshed.

It was also claimed that over-exposure to screen-based entertainment was robbing children of valuable time interacting with friends or playing outdoors – harming their education and long term development.

It follows repeated concerns from psychologists that watching violent films and playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Modern Warfare makes youngsters more prone to violence.

Speaking yesterday, Dr Bousted said: “I think what we are talking about, first of all, is the amount of time children spend locked in their room. The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they’re not interacting, they’re not playing and not taking exercise.”

Some of these games were “very violent”, she said, and risk having a major effect on “tender young minds of children and young people.”

Dr Bousted said that many teachers fear parents are ignoring age restrictions on computer games, which often ban their sale to children aged below 18.

“The watershed tends to work quite well, but with online TV and video children and young people are probably watching inappropriate content over a range of media,” she said.

It would be great to share criticisms with parents without fear of reprisal. But, in my experience, the importance of having parents on side means that these criticisms can interfere with a healthy parent/teacher partnership.

Facebook Ignoring Their Own Age Restrictions

March 4, 2012

Facebook have done the right thing by setting age restrictions. Children under 13 should not have their own Facebook page. We have seen enough carnage caused by children misusing their Facebook page to know that a bit of maturity is essential to having the privilege of being part of the Facebook community.

That’s why I am appauled to read that Facebook may be trying to recruit underage children:

FACEBOOK claims it can reach more than 150,000 children in WA under the age of 13, according to the social networking giant’s advertising database.

Cyber safety experts say Facebook’s estimated reach shows that many young children are accessing the website despite guidelines stating it is only for older teenagers.

Online Child Exploitation Det-Snr-Sgt Lindsay Garratt warned young children were exposing themselves to risks such as sexual predators, cyber bullying and identity theft on social networking sites.

Facebook allows users access to its database statistics if they’re planning to advertise on their website.

It says advertisers wanting to target young teens in WA could reach an estimated 177,220 users aged 13 or under.

Facebook doesn’t let users sign up unless they claim to be over 13. But users often give away their true age by listing information such as the primary school they attend.

Sen-Sgt Garratt said it was important that parents monitored the websites their children were visiting.

Unless Facebook moderators can show they are doing everything in their powers to stop underaged children from having their own page, Facebook should be legally culpable for cybersafety and cyberbullying incidents as a result of their sneaky tactics and general lack of scrutiny.

Mark Zuckerberg Against Facebook Age Restrictions

May 23, 2011

Should we be surprised that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, thinks kids under 13 should be able to have their own Facebook pages?  I’m sure the founder of cigarette companies are only too happy to lower age restrictions on their products too.

You might think that my comparison is quite gratuitous, and I suppose it is, but one cannot properly articulate the damage inflicted on  cyber bullied children.

Zuckerberg thinks he can protect these kids:

“My philosophy is that for education, you need to start at a really young age”, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the New Schools Summit in California, about why he thinks children under the age of 13 should be allowed to be Facebook members. Currently the age restriction requires that one be thirteen years or older to get a Facebook log on ID, but of course it is not difficult to avoid this and create an account anyway. Consumer Reports recently reported that there are about 7.5 million children under the age of 13 on Facebook.

Zuckerberg explained that, in his view, software and technology will help students learn a lot from one another, and that if COPPA were lifted, “we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger children] are safe. “ COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, makes it illegal for web sites to collect information on children under the age of 13.

However, amidst growing concern about online privacy in general, lifting COPPA may be optimistic. Senator John Rockefeller on Thursday question Facebook Chief Technology Officer on Capital Hill saying: “I want you to defend your company here because I don’t know how you can.”

Zuckerberg’s assurances are not in the least bit reassuring.  There is no way they can properly ensure the safety of children.  And why would they need to, if they only let kids be kids?  So they wait until 13 to use Facebook?  I’ve said it before.  Why would a 12-year old need a Facebook page anyway?

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