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Good or Bad: Facebook Could Open Up to Younger User

facebook kids

 

I bet you’ve already heard the news. Facebook now plans to allow users who are under thirteen years old. They’ll likely never say this publicly, but let’s get honest. They want to lower the legal age to gain more customers.

According to USA Today, it’s a move that may draw cheers from young kids but add another item to parent’s chronic “to do” list. Parents will have to monitor and supervise their children’s Facebook account. The plan, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, has drawn swift concern from privacy advocates and lawmakers a federal law (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) prohibits Internet companies from collecting personal information about children under 13 years old without verifiable parental consent.

Facebook claims it will allow parents proactively oversee their kids’ activities and discourage them from lying about their birth date to sign up.

While this may be true—I just see it differently.

It’s about customers and money. Period. In fact, nearly every move you see a major company make is about that. Which is why we continue to produce products, services and entertainment (the porn industry has the most expensive web site URLs) for people even though it’s not good for society. Money for many is god.

May I ask a few questions?

Why does a ten year old need to be on Facebook? They don’t. In fact, in elementary school, what we need is more kids playing outside, not in a sedentary position viewing posts from peers or older kids. What we need is kids learning how to interact face to face with others, raising their emotional intelligence and their conflict resolution skills—not viewing photos and experiencing life virtually through someone else. What we need is children discovering who they really are, not becoming obsessed with their image—appearing cool on their new Facebook profile. Employers continue to tell me they have a difficult time locating young employees who have good communication skills, leadership skills or even mere people skills because those skills have atrophied in students, being unused in the TGIF generation: Texting, Google, Internet and Facebook.

I am not anti-technology. Obviously, technology has some great attributes and it’s not going away. I do, however, believe we need to take a stand when companies want to expand technology—even when it doesn’t help our kids mature in a healthy way, just because it will increase their bottom line.

Am I too old-fashioned?  What do you think about this?

Artificial Maturity

6 Comments

  1. Jared ingle on June 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Last week, I posted this in response to their chief argument at that particular time:

    “Let’s allow children under 13 to have Facebook accounts, because they’re already sneaking around the system and creating accounts anyway.” Hasn’t a similar argument already been used by those who want to legalize drugs? Does anyone care about the privacy of their children anymore?

    • Tim Elmore on June 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Great point, Jared.

    • Mark West on June 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      if I know the kids first & last name, approximate age, & school or city I bet even w/o have a FB profile I can find out sooooo much information that it would scare most parents way beyond what they think is actually out there. Its a matter of life now-a-days it really isn’t always up 2 the parents control but it should b. Im just saying that if ur worried about privacy issues w/ FB alone your just not seeing what is going on in the world we live in that allows for almost instantaneous access 2 information information more or less about anything about that individual.

      by the way more & more parents r signing there kids up or allowing there kids 2 get on FB, so this just ain’t a problem w/ the kids its a problem that involves both kids & adults.

      Personally I don’t have a problem with kids having a profile probably b/c of my age & how often ive seen kids underage on FB. Just to tell you Im a Scout Leader & at least 100 of my FB friends are under 13. Do I report them no I dont but thats my choice. Ohh just 1 point if u just went around on FB reporting violations 2 community standards or the age restrictions thats all you would b doing on FB.

  2. Tim Carpenter on June 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

    “Too old-fashioned?” No way Tim, you’re actually helping us get out of our traditional ruts. But I do have some thoughts I’d like to share. I totally don’t agree with the comment of “Let’s allow children under 13 to have Facebook accounts, because they’re already sneaking around the system and creating accounts anyway.” Really? So, let’s begin to legalize everything else kids are doing secretly? We have to keep the ball in our court. Be proactive..Create an environment for success. When the thought of FB for kids comes up adults, including myself, automatically think of the negative, worst case scenerios. They have different motives. Q: What if we could set up FB for this generation in a healthy way that allows them to connect with millions of other kids all over the world? They could share, innovate new ideas, expand and create platforms for causes most adults are too passive to tackle? Most kids that aged aren’t consumed with getting a date or meeting that someone.Plus, most of our Elementary teachers can’t keep up with these kids anyway. This is the direction and future of our world. But, we must also ensure that this generation doesn’t lose the ability to build, connect and speak face to face- real actual relationships where you use spoken words and shake someone’s hand. Is this possible? The KEY will be to teach respondsibility and set up boundaries. If we ignore it or supress it, kids will find a way. But through online education, an emphasis on character and itegrity. FB is a powerful tool. It can and has changed the world or can be a destructive addiction. Are we adults willing to teach and lead the way?

    • Tim Elmore on June 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, Tim! I do agree – technology is neutral – it’s all how we use ( and teach kids to use it! )

    • Mark West on June 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      I hate 2 say this but in this age of global & near-instant communication theres really no such thing as privacy on the web unless ur talking about encrypted websites but even then its been proven time & time again that the standard level of encryption used isn’t enough!

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Good or Bad: Facebook Could Open Up to Younger User