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Latest Child Privacy Issues: More Than 5 Million Kids On Facebook

There was a time when internet usage was strictly monitored and kids were not allowed to use computers like they do today. Although those kids were not as knowledgeable as today’s kids (and much more innocent too), we did not have to worry every minute about how their online privacy and security. A recent study was conducted about the kind of victims hackers target online and not surprisingly, 39% of the hackers preferred kids as they are easy targets and also quite valuable when it comes to revealing confidential information.

This is very disturbing and we should take more measures to protect our kids. Facebook is probably the most popular hunting grounds for hackers and kids under the age of 13 are not allowed on Facebook. But surveys conducted in the past few weeks report that there are over 5 million kids under the age of 13 on Facebook.

Facebook Policy States Under-13 Kids Not Allowed

The official policy of the most popular social networking site in the world states that kids under the age of 13 are not allowed on Facebook. Although this is a part of the site’s official policy, there are no measures to ensure that kids don’t slip through the verification net. The site only asks to enter your date of birth in the initial stages of the registration process. If you alter your year of birth in such a way that you seem more than 13 years old, the site has no qualms about accepting you as a user even if you are under the age of 13. This is exactly what the excess of 5 million kids on Facebook have done.

FB’s Effort To Block Children Ineffective But The Site Refuses To Acknowledge It

These numbers suggest that there is clearly something wrong in Facebook’s age verification system but the administrators of the social networking site do not seem to realize it. They are of the opinion that they are screening the profiles regularly and they do eliminate the profiles which are verified as belonging to under-13 kids. The company’s administrators also had some numbers to show when questioned about this particular apparent fallacy with the site. They said that every year, they are eliminating more than 800,000 accounts which they believe belong to kids. But the company refuses to disclose any information on the system they use to verify the age of the user. For all we know, the system might be flawed.

This Problem Will Escalate To Serious Proportions Unless Dealt With Immediately

Some might feel that online security experts are overreacting as Facebook is just a harmless social networking site. But clearly, there are serious implications. Kids are easy to manipulate because of their innocence and this is exactly the tactics that hackers use. They use a technique called social engineering which will attract the kids to their devious plots and this will not only put the kids’ privacy at risk, but also their parents’ and siblings’. The kids also get to watch adult content in private through Facebook pages even if you have blocked the adult content in their computers.

Parents Should Not Encourage Kids To Use Facebook

The survey that counted the number of pre teens on Facebook also interviewed parents about their tolerance towards their kids using Facebook. More than 60% of parents confessed that they helped their pre teen kids to open accounts. This is a bad idea and the main reason for this is social pressure. When a kid doesn’t have a Facebook account, he or she will be ridiculed by the kids who have one and this will lead to emotional distress. But parents must understand that there is something more at risk and exercise discretion while dealing with their kids.

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