Facebook Is Reportedly Planning To Let Your Preteen Have An Account

New features would allow younger children to sign up for the first time. Will this make keeping track of your child easier or more difficult?

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Facebook reportedly planning to allow children under 13 to have accounts” was written by Katie Rogers, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 4th June 2012 15.11 UTC

Parental controls may be part of a new suite of tools available to parents who wish to allow children under 13 to access Facebook.

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Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that under-13 “features” could be appended to games and entertainment on the site, giving parents an opportunity to ensure a safer experience.

Facebook told the paper that it is “in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policy makers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment”.

Zuckerberg has long been a proponent of allowing greater access for youngsters. He has has said the potential for educational opportunity trumps a mandate by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) that websites collecting data about users allow children under age 13 to enroll.

“That will be a fight we take on at some point,” Zuckerberg said, referencing Coppa in May 2011. “My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age.”

Reaction to the story hints that Facebook would just be allowing what already happens. As more than a few parents have admitted, sometimes kids are allowed to sneak their way around the site’s terms of service by lying about their ages or using a family profile.

What do you think? Will allowing children under 13 to use the site change much about Facebook’s landscape? Take the poll below, tell us in the comments or tweet to @GuardianUS. We’ll feature some of your replies in this post.


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Should preteens be allowed to use Facebook? Jason Schultz, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California–Berkeley and co-author of “Why Parents Help their children lie to Facebook about age: Unintended Consequences of the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” was on our Facebook page taking reader questions and discussing concerns our readers voiced. You can view the chat here. Here are a few of the highlights:

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