The internet is a scary place. With viruses lurking around every corner, you have to be careful what sort of links you click. One click and your computer can be emptier than my love-life. Knowing of these dangers, you don’t exactly want your 10-year old child to surf around freely. There’s too many risks, that’s why most websites only allow over-13’s to register; to protect their privacy. Actually, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits websites from doing otherwise.
Then along comes Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
I’ve recently seen a Guardian.co.uk article and a TIME Healthland article that reports that Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook accessible to under-13’s. Even when I saw the headlines, the alarms inside my head were going off. Seriously? Like we haven’t got enough people addicted to Facebook already.
Zuckerberg wants to allow under-13’s to use Facebook and, together with that, introduce tools, so that parents are able to control what they do on Facebook. He also defends his decision by saying that kids need to be educated about the internet from “a really, really young age.” We all know, as we youthful internet users should, that not allowing under-13’s to register is not really effective. Kids these days are smart and are able to fake their age on the internet. It’s not that hard. Heck, I’ve been using a computer since I was 6 years old.
There are debates going to and fro about this topic. Many highlight the bad aspects of this decision and there are some that voice the good aspects. There is also a lot of research taking place. That’s all good and well, but it’s kind of missing the point.
A nice analogy that my sister used when I told her the news is: “Why give a child a match, when you know they are going to light a fire with it?” Children are crafty demons; they WILL find loopholes in the system. That’s how they got to fake their age in the first place. Another issue is that of the parents. Not all parents are strict when it comes to their child’s internet usage, so they might not even use the ‘tools’ that are going to be placed.
Ignoring whether this decision is good or bad, what people should realise is how stupid the whole thing is. Young kids should not be bothering themselves with these things. Kids should play with friends and go out and have fun and beat each other to a pulp in video games, rather than becoming retarded Facebook stalkers. I get enough immature crap on my Facebook feed already, thank you very much Zuckerberg.
Luckily the new generation of parents should be tech-savvy enough to know how to handle the issue between their kids and technology. They will after all have a better judgement of what is good or bad, since they have been exposed to internet themselves from a young age.
I don’t think I will, but IF I ever do get children, they will learn about the internet the hard way. Oh, I’m not going against kids and technology. I’m just going to be VERY cautious with the internet, thus if I see my children becoming fat and obsessive over the internet, then I’m going to pull the plug. This will also happen when they start using internet acronyms in actual conversation (ie. “OMG, I’m like so bored… lol!” and “YOLO!”).
The whole learning process will take place in a safe environment: on a busted computer with crap graphics, in the laundry room (I will place it there so that the maid will be my spy), that’s not connected to any other computer in the house, so that if they stumble upon a virus, I can just throw it away, knowing that my precious (yes, read it in that voice) is not affected in any way whatsoever.