Facebook may start officially letting children under 13 join

Rebecca Harrington

Facebook is developing technology that could start allowing children under the age of 13 to join, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The technology could link children’s accounts to their parents’ accounts, which would let parents see who their children’s friends are, what games they are playing and what they are posting.

Although Facebook officially does not allow children under 13 to join, they can lie about the year they are born to join. A study by Microsoft Research found that 36 percent of parents knew their children joined Facebook before they were age 13.

Opponents, like CEO of Common Sense Media James Steyer, argue that Facebook is developing the technology for advertising purposes. “What Facebook is proposing is similar to the strategies used by Big Tobacco in appealing to young people – try to hook kids early, build your brand, and you have a customer for life,” Wired reported  Steyer said a statement.

It is still a possible technology, and Facebook officials said how difficult it is keeping children from creating Facebook accounts.

"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services," the Wall Street Journal reported Facebook officials said. "We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policy makers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment."