Facebook for First-Graders? The Social Media Giant Looks to Welcome Kids Under 13

Fighting a losing battle against age restrictions, Facebook is developing technology to allow young children to use the site legitimately. Would you let your elementary-schooler join the Facebook nation?

My 9-year-old son has a Facebook account I set up for him last year while reporting a TIME magazine story about the social-media giant considering allowing kids and tweens on the site. I wanted to see how easy it was to circumvent Facebook’s requirement that users be at least 13. The answer: a piece of cake.By simply plugging in a birthdate that added five years to my son’s age, my boy instantly joined the ranks of the 7.5 million kids under 13 that Consumer Reports said last year had Facebook accounts. More than 5 million of those kids were under 10.Just last week, I deactivated the account — which I did not allow my son to use — because I was tired of getting nagging messages from Facebook to my email address informing my son that he had “notifications pending.” I can barely stay on top of my own Facebook and Twitter feeds; I have no urge to add my son’s account to the list.

Yet while even 13 seems to me too young for Facebooking, now comes word via the Wall Street Journal that the newly public company is brainstorming ways to allow preteens to join the rest of the world in “friending” and “tagging” — with some form of parental supervision… Read more


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