Originally posted on Live Journal: Suburban Eschatology Part Two (September 12, 2011, 9:56 PM)
I am not a fan of kids on social media. Teens, sure, but under thirteen seems a bit much. My son would love a Facebook account, but I do not think he is ready. On top of this, he spent so much time on the computer over the last year, without access to any real social networking, that I had to take him into the doctor to have his carpal tunnel symptoms looked at this afternoon.
Anyway, here is yet another reason why kids and social networking services are a bad idea...
There is a rising threat to kids who habituate the Internet: the likelihood that a popular mobile app or social-networking service will invade their privacy.
The Federal Trade Commission last month announced a $50,000 settlement with app maker W3 Innovations for collecting and dispersing information of kids under 13 in violation of the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act, or COPPA.
A recent survey by anti-virus firm AVG found roughly half of children ages 6 through 9 regularly interact with friends online, yet 58% of their parents admitted to not being knowledgeable about social networks.
"The risks to children from social networking at an early age are numerous," Lavy says. "As pedophiles become more technologically sophisticated, they're able to find and connect with kids easier than with previous methods."
More time spent online also means higher risk of children getting exposed to inappropriate content and advertising. Identity thieves target minors' names and Social Security numbers to create bogus credit accounts with a lower likelihood of getting discovered.