Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act’

Parents Helping Their Children Lie To Get On Facebook

November 2, 2011

To those parents who are contemplating assisting their underage children to get on Facebook, I strongly suggest you reconsider.  The age requirements for Facebook is necessary, as Facebook has a clear downside.  From cybersafety issues to cyberbullying, Facebook is clearly not designed for pre-teens.

Almost all parents of ten-year-olds signing up for the site – 95 percent – were aware of what their children were doing, and 78 percent of those helped them do it.

“Although many sites restrict access to children, our data show that many parents knowingly allow their children to lie about their age — in fact, often help them to do so — in order to gain access to age–restricted sites in violation of those sites’ ToS,” the authors write.

“This is especially true for general–audience social media sites and communication services such as Facebook, Gmail, and Skype, which allow children to connect with peers, classmates, and family members for educational, social, or familial reasons.”

The survey found that 55 percent of 12-year-olds, 32 percent of 11-year-olds and 19 percent of 10-year-olds were active Facebook members.

The authors suggest that the COPPA rules may need re-examination, given that they appear only to be encouraging parents to lie. Universal, rather than age-based, privacy protecitons might make more sense, they say.

The full report is here.

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