Is There A Minimum Age Requirement For Facebook?

Is There A Minimum Age Requirement For Facebook? post image

One of the computer safety questions that I get asked all of the time by parents is; “what is the minimum age requirement to use Facebook?” After I inform them that the minimum age requirement to use Facebook, according to Facebook’s privacy policy is 13, I typically then get asked something to the extent of “does Facebook really care if I let my child who is under the age of 13 use their site?” The short answer is yes, they do care, and yes, they will enforce their minimum age requirement…

Per Facebook’s privacy policy, as quoted below, you can clearly see that Facebook does not want anyone under the age of 13 to even attempt to register for a Facebook account;

No information from children under age 13. If you are under age 13, please do not attempt to register for Facebook or provide any personal information about yourself to us. If we learn that we have collected personal information from a child under age 13, we will delete that information as quickly as possible. If you believe that we might have any information from a child under age 13, please contact us through this help page.

Parental participation. We strongly recommend that minors 13 years of age or older ask their parents for permission before sending any information about themselves to anyone over the Internet and we encourage parents to teach their children about safe internet use practices. Materials to help parents talk to their children about safe internet use can be found on this help page.”

Let me make it crystal clear that as both an experienced computer consultant AND a parent, that I am of the opinion that it is absolutely NOT OK to violate a social networking site’s terms of service. Minimum age requirements are put in place on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace for a very good reason. There is an abundance of evidence suggesting that “tweens” and younger teenagers are not emotionally capable of handling the responsibilities associated with owning a Facebook account. At the end of the day however, it all comes down to parenting. While I won’t tell you how to raise your children I am of the opinion that allowing children who are under the age of 13 to open a Facebook account sends the wrong message. If you are a parent who is considering allowing a “tween” to open a Facebook account then I would encourage you to watch these videos from NetSmartz before you make your decision.

In summary, kids under the age of 13 shouldn’t be using Facebook. It is in violation of Facebook’s policies, and its just not a safe environment for young children as they typically are not mature enough for social networking. Fortunately, Facebook makes it very easy to report an underage user. For the sake of child safety, I would encourage anyone who comes across an underage Facebook user account to take the time to report it to Facebook.

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Mike enjoys computers and technology, playing the piano, selling stuff on eBay, playing video games, cooking, and eating at Teddy’s Pizza. He started CompuNoodle in 2009 and loves to hear from his readers.

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