Millions Of Kids On Facebook Despite Restriction On Pre-Teens

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(AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Is there a child under the age of 13 typing away at your home computer? The chances are pretty good that he or she is on Facebook, something that’s not allowed under the company’s guidelines. Equally likely: most parents know their kids are violating Facebook’s age terms but are electing not to do anything about it.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Just how widespread is pre-teen Facebook use?

“7.5 million, at least, kids younger than 13 are on Facebook and 5 million were 10 and under,” Consumer Reports Tech Editor Jeff Fox summed up a report published by the magazine on Tuesday.

Responding by written statement, Facebook insisted it welcomed debate on the issue, but warned it was hard to keep kids from lying about their age when registering for the social networking site.

“For Facebook to basically accept whatever a kid says his birthday is, it’s really inadequate,” countered Fox.

He pointed out that young Facebook users were vulnerable on a number of fronts – not just potentially falling victim to online bullying or cyber-infections, but to adults who preyed on children by themselves posing as youngsters.

Is there a sensible solution?

“There is no technology that really provides a failsafe way of keeping kids identified by age off of anything online,” pointed out ConnectSafely.org’s Anne Collier. “I don’t think Facebook is inherently dangerous in any way. I think it is important for parents to know what their kids are up to in Facebook.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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