But according to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is considering implementing some new features and processes that would make it possible for children under age 13 to join the service with the assistance of their parents, who would reportedly have additional control features such as having their child’s account tied to their own, and giving parental approval to who their kids can be friends with.
This action from Facebook would come on the heels of reports from groups like Consumer Reports (cited in the WSJ article) that say there are already more than seven million children under age 13 using Facebook, with more than five million of those under the age of 10. Many parents (you may even know some, or be some) even help their children who are not of “legal Facebook age” get an account.
While the pros and cons of allowing kids this young to use Facebook could be debated ad nauseum, I think there is some merit to Facebook saying “hey, we know that young kids are getting on the service, so we want to give parents a tool to help monitor the activity of their children better.”
Having kids’ accounts tied to parents’ accounts could be a great first start in giving parents better access to what their kids are doing online. Sure, many parents are already doing the responsible thing by constantly monitoring all of their kids’ Internet activity, but as far as Facebook is concerned, taking a few extra steps to help monitor the situation would probably be appreciated by many.