Should kids under 13 be allowed on Facebook?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reportedly wants “younger kids” to be allowed on social network sites such as, well, Facebook. He sees says that “a fight to take on” will be the United States’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which bars anyone under the age of 13 from signing up on Web sites that collect information from its users.

Zuckerberg is reportedly passionate about educational reform

Last year Zuckerberg pledged $100 million to the school system in Newark, New Jersey. At the NewSchools Venture Fund’s Summit in Burlingame, Calif. earlier this week, Zuckerberg told interviewer (and venture capitalist) John Doerr that improving education and making the Internet more open are two of his favorite dinnertime topics.

But does allowing kids to use what many consider to be the most addictive technology-enabled time-waster of our age further such supposedly education-oriented goals?

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Already, many parents struggle to keep kids safe on the Net and manage the time they spend on it. Much of the dangers to kids online usually present themselves via social networking sites. Sexual predators, digital bullies, and other opportunists increasingly ply their trade in sites like Facebook and MySpace, so much so that many police organisations around the world now have units specifically trained to deal with such sorts of criminal elements.

Education (at least the sort that ultimately brings home the bacon) also requires an ability to focus and concentrate that excessive exposure to media-rich Net content simply does not build. Already, the digital generation have been dismissed by many as the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Generation, whose members often exhibit a lack of the mental discipline required to see long-term initiatives through to completion.

[Photo courtesy Sexy Women Style.]

6 Replies to “Should kids under 13 be allowed on Facebook?”

  1. I don’t see any problem with kids/toddlers having FB accounts…but what we should be worrying about is what they’re about to see on the net without the supervision of a grown up…and that’s a comment coming from an upcoming 17 year old HS Senior.

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