Minors Using Facebook: A Controversy of the Past?
The idea of minors using Facebook is still very daunting to some, but Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is in talks to reverse the policy restricting users under the age of 13 from joining the social networking site.
Research has shown that a growing number of parents would be willing to allow their 10 - 12 year old children to use Facebook regularly. One year ago, only 8% of parents would have allowed their underage children to use the site, whereas that number has jumped to 17% in 2011. These results show that parents are becoming much more accepting of social media than in recent years, perhaps because it's now clear these sites are not going away.
But don't expect Facebook to start making policy changes just yet - Zuckerberg says there are still many new changes that must be implemented before the site can be considered safe for children. What proves even more shocking is that 11% of parents admit to creating and using an account on behalf of their child.
The topic of minors using Facebook has been a point of controversy and debate for many years following threats carried out by sexual predators, online bullying and an overall poor judgement by children when using the internet. Bullying can get particularly cruel online, often more than personal confrontation, and has even driven some teenagers to commit suicide after being taunted by peers online.
Statistics are also showing that keeping children 100% safe on the internet is not always possible. A large number of minors will lie about their age in order to create accounts on social networking sites, and many parents are growing less concerned about internet dangers.
Facebook acknowledges that it is fairly simple for minors to work around age restriction policies to create accounts, which is a primary reason why founder Mark Zuckerberg is seeking ways to make the site friendly to younger generation internet users. "My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age."
5 million minors under the age of 10 are using Facebook regularly - a strong indication that social media is becoming a regular part of everyday life. In retrospect, these are the same children who will be raised in the new age of social media - and it's likely to become as much a part of their lives as roller skating and Looney Tunes were to us.