The Delhi High Court on Tuesday took a serious note of children below 13 years having accounts on the social networking websites. The court asked Facebook to put a disclaimer on its home page stating that children below 13 years cannot open account on the social network. The Delhi HC also rapped the Indian government for not having adequate laws to prevent children from abused through the social networking sites.
"You (Facebook) can write on the home page in bold letters that children below 13 are not allowed. There is no harm in doing this...," the court said.
The court also asked Centre to provide information on as what laws are there to protect children online.
"In India what is the law for a minor to use Facebook? Is it 13, 16, 18 or no law? What is the requirement under Indian law for Facebook?," the court noted after the central government's counsel told that in the U.S. children above 13 years are allowed to join social networking sites.
"You don't have a law for protection of minor on social networking sites? You are behind the time...the world has gone much ahead," the court added.
The High Court's observations come as former BJP leader K N Govindacharya filed a plea seeking recovery of taxes from the international social networking sites on their earnings form the India operations.
“Facebook gross revenue for previous year was $37 billion approximately but they are not paying due taxes to Indian government," says the petition, calling for safety of the data of 50 million Indian users, supposedly transferred "to the US and is being used for commercial gains in violation of the right to privacy".
Facebook and Google both have policies regarding the age eligibility to join their social network. It's notable one needs to be above 13 years to have a Facebook account. However, Consumer Reports said last year that out of the 20 million minors who actively use Facebook, 7.5 million are younger than 13, while more than five million are younger than 10.
Last year, we'd conducted a survey on children below 13 years joining the social networking. Majority had said social networking sites weren't safe for preteens. Read: Social networking is not safe for preteens, say survey results.
Despite various measures, cases of cyber-bullying, pornography and trolling have steadily grown. However, there are various efforts being made to create awareness about safety of children online. Recently, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Facebook launched Internet safety programme for children in India. Read more about the programme here.
Do you think children below a certain age should not be allowed to join the social network? Let us know in the comments section below:
Source: India Today