Facebook is reportedly going to allow children younger than 13 years old to join the social network, but under parental supervision. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the social networking site is working on technology to link children's accounts to those of their parents. The Journal also says parents may be allowed to control whom their children add as friends. Access to apps and games will also be decided by parents, the WSJ sources say.
At the moment, Facebook prohibits children under 13 from joining the website. The social networking presently has more than 900 million active users across the world; opening the gates for preteenagers will significantly boost the numbers.
Rumours have been surfacing for quite some time that the social networking giant was looking to change its policy and allow under-13s to join the site. A couple of weeks ago, the Sunday Times quoted Facebook's UK head of policy Simon Milner, that "under-13s may be let into (the) Facebook fold." However, Facebook later denied the possibilities.
Main reasons of not allowing under-13s from joining Facebook are considered to be rising cases of cyber-bullying, pornography and trolling. However, there have been multiple surveys that reveal the under-13s access Facebook anyway, by lying about their age while filling up the application form.
According to Consumer Reports, out of the 20 million minors who actively use Facebook, 7.5 million are younger than 13, while more than five million were younger than 10. Facebook acknowledges that the under-13s manage to get on the site and offers advice to parents how can they educate their children about cyber threats.
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