Okay, maybe it’s not as bad as parents buying beer for their kids under age 21 or cigarettes for those under 18, but Microsoft Research Senior Researcher Danah Boyd examined why so many parents allow their children under the Facebook age limit of 13 to join the social network.
Boyd found that parents don’t have enough awareness about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which restricts access to social network to kids aged 13 and older. And:
- 55 percent of parents of 12-year-olds know their children have Facebook accounts, with 82 percent of those knowing when their kids signed up, and 76 percent assisting them in the process.
- 36 percent of all parents surveyed (1,007 U.S. parents with children 10 to 14 living with them, from July 5 through 14) said their kids joined Facebook before turning 13, and 68 percent of those also helped their children create their accounts on the social network.
- 53 percent of parents think Facebook has a minimum age requirement, while 35 percent believe it is only a recommendation.
- 78 percent think violating the minimum-age limits for online services is acceptable.
Boyd pointed out that strictly enforcing COPPA would be cost prohibitive for online companies such as Facebook. The legislation became effective prior to the emergence of social media.
She added that many parents want their children to become “responsible digital citizens,” and the first step toward that is allowing them to access sites such as Facebook.
Readers: Where do you stand on the age limit of 13 years old?