Up to 3.6m Facebook users may be underage

Creaky

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The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) federal regulation states that a person must be aged 13 or older in order to use websites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, however there are fears that millions of users are below this legal age with, technology firm, ComScore estimating that up to 3.6m Facebook users are under the age of 12. "Not only are kids lying about their age, but more often than not, parents teach them to lie about their age," said Microsoft researcher, Danah Boyd.

While lying about age is nothing new, the current concerns are that children are signing up to these sites, mostly to copy their peers and family. It is claimed that parents are even helping their children, while considering the law an obstacle which blocks their children from socialising and participating in social media. Media websites find it hard to verify a person age while keeping their sites "we are not burying our head in the sand," said the chief security officer at Facebook.

One such example is that of 44 year old Cristina Flores, she allowed her 11 year old son to sign up on Facebook without realising that age restrictions existed. "It’s not like there’s a legal age limit for being on the Internet," she said. His son, Jake, told the site he was 15 years old. It appears this is not uncommon with half of his class doing the same thing.

The former chief of security at MySpace, Hemanshu Nigam, told the NY Times the story of an 11 year old boy who accepted a friend request from a girl in his class, the only issue was that 'her' profile was fake. The boys pictures ended up on a sex themed website with some very distasteful comments. "It can be a living nightmare for an 11-year-old who just wanted to hang out with his friends" he said.
 

Silent

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I am sure we have 9 year olds posing as 15+ year old teenagers. Kids don't seem to understand how dangerous the internet can be.
 

Creaky

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Some sites make it way too easy to give a false age, no easy way of proving it I suppose.
 

Caiaphas

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They know how old these kids are because they've asked them to answer every question under the sun. "What school do you go to.....where do you live....name your relationship to so and so......

They know exactly who's on underage.
 

Silent

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Caiaphas said:
They know how old these kids are because they've asked them to answer every question under the sun. "What school do you go to.....where do you live....name your relationship to so and so......

They know exactly who's on underage.
I agree. They should do something about it!
 

Silent

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Creaky said:
If they did something about it they would loose half their userbase.
But they would gain respect. Meaning they would have a lot of loyal members.
 

Gamrpro

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Good thing I'm 13! I do lie and say my age is 30 thought with 95% of the sites I join. I'm just used to putting it in.
 

Silent

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Gamrpro said:
Good thing I'm 13! I do lie and say my age is 30 thought with 95% of the sites I join. I'm just used to putting it in.
I don't think you should do that.
 

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