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Why 12-Year-Olds Shouldn't Use Facebook

After exhausting the number of adults it can get to sign up for Facebook, the social networking giant wants kids to come aboard. Is this the start of a new revolution or the destruction of the Internet?

It is true that many kids under the age of 13 already use Facebook (NASDAQ: FB). But according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is "developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 years old to use the social-networking site under parental supervision."

That sounds like a wonderful plan. But there are many reasons why it will never work. Let's take a look at some of them.

Facebook Isn't Trustworthy

In the history of the Internet, how many websites can you think of that have continually changed their privacy policy (and adjusted what others can and cannot see) without properly informing its users?

Facebook is the king of privacy issues. Not only has the social network made it far too easy for random Web surfers to see your personal info, but the company has also been accused of sharing too much information with its partners. Do we really want our kids to be exposed to what is arguably the most careless website around?

Child Predators Could Rise

In 2006, it was revealed that one in five children is approached by an online predator. While that number has been disputed (critics say the media blew it out of proportion), there's no denying the danger of online predators.

Why make it easier for them to gain access to our kids? If kids are on Facebook, their personal info -- whether it's a photo from school, a discussion about their favorite park, or some other personally identifiable comment or image -- will no longer be safe. Facebook cannot be trusted with this info. Any info.

To be clear, I'm not saying that kids don't belong online or on social media sites. I simply do not want them on Facebook.

Advertisers Are Predators, Too

If you think criminals are the only thing endangering your kids online, think again.

Advertisers want your kids, too. They may not be out to harm them, but they most certainly want their personal information. How else can they properly market new toys and gimmicks without knowing everything they can about Little Joe and Little Jane?

If your kids share it, Facebook will search for a way to sell it -- with or without parental consent.

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Facebook Wall Street JournalTech

 

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