Nearly half of all American 12 year olds use social networking sites like Facebook. The concern about young people having accounts on the sites is growing.
According to the Associated Press, Senator Al Franken wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking change. "Under Facebook's policy, 13 million users under the age of 18 may be allowed to share their personal information just like adult users," Franken wrote. "These younger users are the most vulnerable to predators on Facebook and the rest of the Internet and it should be impossible for them to inadvertently share their phone numbers and home addresses with anyone."
Facebook reportedly kicks off 20,000 users every day after finding out they are under the age of 13, the age requirement for the site.
Mozelle Thompson, Facebook’s chief privacy adviser, told Australia’s parliament this week that the site’s way of figuring out which users are under 13 is “not perfect.” There’s no way to prevent someone from lying about their age.
The topic was discussed with WCPO sister station WEWS on Thursday.
Bob Heiss wrote, “Social networks that are privately owned have the right to set the standards by which they exist. If a user does not like those standards, they can leave.”
Renee Kimball wrote, “One of my children has one, it was set for a specific reason and I control what he can and can't do on here as I have the password, not him.”
“It should definitely be up to the parents!” Jennifer Durham wrote. “Let's not forget the positive effects from social networking.”
Other sites monitor ages of users as well. Disney.com allows children 12 and under to surf the site, and collects some personal information from them before they're eligible to participate in competitions. Yahoo! doesn't allow kids 12 and under to register without the consent of a parent.