Facebook may reduce the minimum age for account restrictions, allowing youngsters to officially join the Social Networking service.
Facebook is hungry to grow
Facebook is hungrier than ever to build upon its already massive user base and is exploring new ways to legally include children under 13 years of age as members to its social network, according to the Wall Street Journal. The social network currently has more than 900 million users, and opening it up to under-13s could significantly boost the numbers. It is rumored to be working on new technology that will allow youngsters to be active on the site under parental supervision.
Nothing definite as yet
"Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services" At the moment Facebook Bans children under 13 years of age from using its services. Facebook hasn't confirmed any decisions about allowing children under 13 to sign up for accounts but have mentioned they are constantly working on new technologies to reach audiences and Children's safety has always been of paramount importance.
"Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services," Facebook said in a statement to the BBC. Among the main reasons of banning under-13s from accessing Facebook currently, are cyber-bullying, child pornography and trolling. According to surveys, many under-13s get on Facebook anyway, by lying about their age while completing the application form.
And it seems that often, parents are in the loop. A recent study by researchers from Harvard, University of California, Northwestern University and Microsoft Research found that 72% of parents who had reported that their child was on Facebook knew that that the child joined the social network before age 13.
In May 2011, Consumer Reports found that "of the 20 million minors who actively use Facebook", 7.5 million were younger than 13 and more than five million were younger than 10. And in 2012 McAfee conducted a study which said that 37% of 10 to 12-year-olds were on the social network.