Apart from the social networking website entering the market with its IPO, and owner Zuckerberg tying the knot with longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan, Facebook also has been in the news recently for having reportedly decided to relax the under-13 age limit mandatory for signing up on the site. A senior employee had earlier said that those under the age of 13 sign-up for the service anyway, so they might consider lifting the ban soon. However, a Facebook spokesperson has outrightly refused that the company plans to relax the under-13 age limit for accessing Facebook. Facebook told The Telegraph, “We have no idea how The Sunday Times concluded that we are opening up to under-13s from the conversation Simon Milner had with them. All we have said is what we have been saying for months – that minors on Facebook and the internet is an important issue – and we want to work with the broader industry to look at ways of keeping minors safe. The headline …from the Times is no reflection of that conversation.” On the other hand, Zuckerberg had revealed last year that using Facebook has some educational benefits and so children should be allowed to access the site.
We will not relax the age limit
Facebook has about 900 million Facebook users, and if the under-13 limit is relaxed, then that number can be expected to grow by quite a bit. Simon Milner, head of policy in Britain for Facebook, said that it was clear there were children under the age of 13 who were using the site. He said that children have been accessing Facebook with their parents’ permission and help. Although, there is a strict under-13 age limit rule in America that applies to those accessing the website, elsewhere in the world a lot of parents are happy about their kids being on Facebook. “An important objective of Facebook's work in education is improving the relevance of computer science skills amongst school leavers and graduates in the UK,” said a spokesperson today.
Online policy forbids underage children from accessing social sites and creating profiles to protect them from online dangers. It also is to ensure that children aren’t bullied over the Internet. Apparently, a poll commissioned by charity Beatbullying in 2009 revealed that girls are up to four times more likely to face online bullying than boys. In fact, some school bullies have even set up Facebook groups to abuse their classmates.