Facebook for Tweens?

12 June 2012

As you may be aware, the current minimum age required to have a Facebook account is 13. However, that hasn’t stopped many younger children from creating accounts. In fact, a 2011 Consumer Reports survey indicates there 7.5 million Facebook users under the age of 13 and that 5 million of them are under the age of 10. Now Facebook is looking for a way to legitimately welcome these young people.

According to to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is testing technology that will connect a child’s account with their parent’s account. This technology is believed to do things like allows parents to decide who their children could be friends with, decide which applications their children use and helps parents monitor activity.

In a Mashable article, Zoe Fox writes that, “Facebook told Mashable it is currently exploring options for younger users, but did not confirm or deny the WSJ report.”

Currently, it’s very easy for anyone to create a Facebook account, no matter what their age. All they have to do is include a year of birth that is acceptable to the social network’s registration system. 

Facebook for kids under 13

 

Once that is filled out, the user’s profile is automatically created:

Facebook for children

 

There is plenty of speculation on why Facebook is making this move, but the real answer is currently unknown. Some claim they are scrambling to raise their stock prices. Others say that kids will be more likely to click ads. Others think that they will be a great revenue generator through online games. Most figure that young kids are already on Facebook and this provides a way for the responsibility of those children to be placed in the hands of their parents. Whatever the reason is, the change is likely coming and what it will look like remains to be seen.

 

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