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Kids Under 13 Should Be Allowed On Facebook, Says CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that kids under 13 should be allowed on the social networking site. Using Facebook can be educational, he argues, and it would be good for kids to start at a really young age.

Now, before you get into a tizzy, know that Zuckerberg makes a good point. Sure, tackling the pre-teen market translates into more money for Zuckerberg – there’s no denying that. But it also means that parents would actually have some control over their kids’ online activity.

As it stands now, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act mandates that websites such as Facebook that collect information about users are not allowed to sign on anyone under the age of 13. “That will be a fight we take on at some point,” Zuckerberg said about his intention to change that policy.

Policy or not, kids are flocking to Facebook. Of the 20 million minor who used Facebook in the past year, 7.5 million of them were younger than 13, according to projections from Consumer Reports’ latest State of the Net survey. (Among this group of minors, more than 5 million were 10 and under.)

The issue, of course, is that these kids are not being supervised by their parents, which means they could be exposed to bullies and predators. But technology is changing so rapidly, and kids are logging on at an increasingly young age (it’s inevitable). As parents, we have a responsibility to monitor our children’s online activity. At least if Facebook’s policy was spelled out for us, we’d know what to look out for (versus just assuming that our kids aren’t using the site, which they so clearly are). It sounds simplistic, but this is the new reality.

(Photo: Jack Hollingsworth)