It’s no secret that kids love social networking sites like Facebook. But a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that many of those kids aren’t supposed to be there at all. It turns out that tens of thousands of them are too young to be lingering in this cyber-hangout. The report says that 46 percent of 12-year-olds in the United States are on Facebook despite the fact the social media site expressly prohibits anyone under the age of 13. The problem with that, of course, is that all a young person has to do is lie about his or her age. And, apparently that’s what a lot of them do. In fact, the Daily Telegraph in Australia reports that Facebook is kicking some 20,000 youngsters off the site a day. (“Go home to your momma,” the site managers do not artfully add, when they evict Junior.)
Always on the spot, the Daily Telegraph caught up with Facebook’s chief privacy advisor, Mozelle Thompson, when he was giving testimony before the Down Under Parliament. After telling the lawmakers about the kiddies swarming the site, he added that the big problem here is that there is no mechanism in place to prevent them from signing up in the first place.
As Mr. Thompson so eloquently put it, “There are people who lie.”
And if you think the 12-year-old set is carried away with social networking sites, wait’ll they get older.
A staggering 64 percent of 13-year-olds have Facebook profiles. That number jumps to 82 percent for kids between ages 14 and 17, says Pew.