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Facebook may allow kids to have profiles

June 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you want to be on Facebook, you've got to be at least 13 years old. It's a requirement that has a lot of kids lying about their age, but pretty soon, they may not have to.

The company is currently testing ways to allow younger kids to sign up for their own accounts, but they would be under parental supervision in order to comply with federal regulations regarding children under 13 online.

It's a possible move that some parents say goes too far.

"I don't think it's appropriate. I think that's a little too young to be on the Internet," said parent Bob Smith.

Dr. William Josephs, a staff psychologist at Northridge Hospital, says kids that young aren't mature enough to handle all that comes with being plugged in.

"The idea that you can have these 'tween' children doing their own thing makes them so easily exploited," Josephs said. "They're gonna go in there and very naively put all kinds of information out there."

That information could generate major revenue for Facebook through its games and advertising.

While it's tough to enforce age restrictions online, especially when parents want their kids to have access, Facebook says it does all it can.

"We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment," the social networking site said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the development in Monday's editions. It's unclear if a so-called "junior" service will ever see the light of day. Many things that Facebook considers never get implemented, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past that it's a challenge the company will eventually take on.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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