Facebook is considering allowing kids on the site — without any age restrictions. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, “Mechanisms being tested include connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ and controls that would allow parents to decide whom their kids can ‘friend’ and what applications they can use.”
A Facebook spokesperson told me in an e-mail that the company is in “continuous dialogue” with government regulators over how to “help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment,” but added that Facebook has made no decisions on whether to drop the age restriction.
Dr. Michael Rich, a Children’s Hospital Boston pediatrician, supports lifting the age restrictions. “I think this would allow parents to be more involved in their kids’ social media,” he said. He likened it to a learner’s permit for new drivers where parents can supervise while their children learn to navigate.
And parents who currently allow their underage kids to join Facebook would no longer have to give tacit permission for them to falsify their age to gain access. Some 7.5 million children under age 13 are already Facebook users, according to a 2011 survey conducted by Consumer Reports.
Facebook would have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits collecting or sharing personal information from a child under 13. D.K.