Facebook May Change Rules to Allow Children Under 13

For the first time, Facebook is considering allowing children under 13 to join the social networking site, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. But a study last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found Facebook is already full of children younger than 13. According to the report, 46 percent of 12-year-olds are already using Facebook despite the prohibition, either with their parents’ permission or by lying about their age. The Wall Street Journal reports Facebook is researching policies and new technologies that will keep young children safe while using the page. Possibilities include giving parents control over their child’s account by linking the parent and child accounts together.

In Alabama, Not All Daycare is Regulated the Same

One Alabama daycare center is drawing attention to a law that exempts centers associated with church ministries from licensing and regulation. Kids Space Daycare in Foley, Alabama, was denied a business license by the city, but The Mobile Press-Register reports city officials ultimately have no grounds to shut the center down because of its church affiliation. The city denied the center’s business license because of reports of problems at two previous facilities run by the same operator, Deborah Stokes. Stokes claims her daycare facility complies with the law and that children enrolled at the center are well cared for. Foley police say Stokes was arrested in Mobile County on charges of child endangerment that occurred at a facility she operated in that county.

Playgrounds — To the Summit of the Monkey Bars

A few bumps, bruises and broken bones from playing on a playground might be good for kids after all. Playgrounds with safety features such as low height limitations and padded ground might be too safe, the New York Times reports, potentially preventing kids from developing emotionally and contributing to unnecessary anxiety later in life. Risky play, such as climbing or wrestling, gradually exposes kids to dangers and helps them solve problems. What kids learn on the playground is a similar technique that therapists use to help conquer phobias in adults – starting small and working toward larger goals, such as reaching the top of the monkey bars – Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway, told the Times. Some experts and parents disagree with the idea that playgrounds may be too safe, worrying fears may be introduced too early in a child’s life and ultimately develop into phobias. However, recent studies have shown quite the opposite, purporting that kids injured at a younger age are less likely to develop phobias toward risky behavior as those who didn’t experience the same life lessons.

The Street Outreach Grant

The Department of Health and Human Services, The Administration for Children and Families, The Administration on Children, Youth and Families, is offering the Runaway and Homeless Youth Street Outreach Program. The goal is to assist children who fall victim to exploitation and abuse on the streets. The objective is to increase the safety, wellbeing and self-sufficiency of homeless youth. This is accomplished by building connections with them so organizations can help provide for the child’s immediate physical needs while helping improve behavioral and psychological health for them. The deadline is June 24, 2011.