10/12/2011 09:53:00 AM EST
More than 7.5 Million Facebook Users are Younger than 13
The June 2011 issue of Consumer
Reports included an article that Facebook
has more than 7.5 million children as users which apparently is violating
the 1998 Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act (COPPA) which precludes children under 13 from using
websites and in particular to join Facebook. The Consumer Reports article
- Of the 20 million minors who actively used Facebook in
the past year, 7.5 million-or more than one-third-were younger than 13 and
not supposed to be able to use the site.
- Among young users, more than 5 million were 10 and
under, and their accounts were largely unsupervised by their parents.
- One million children were harassed, threatened, or
subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on the site in the past year.
These facts reinforce the fact that
it is impossible to know who is actually using the Internet websites as
highlighted by one of my most favorite New
Yorker cartoons from 1993 where two dogs are sitting in front of a computer
and one dog says to the other "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog."
COPPA was enacted to protect
children under 13, but if children under 13 lie about their age what is
Facebook (or any other site) to do? This is a most perplexing problem and
hopefully we can solve this problem to protect children.
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