Facebook Eyes Ways to Target Children Under Age 13

9:16 AM PST 06/04/2012 by Georg Szalai

New technology that the social network is testing could allow the company to charge parents for games and entertainment apps that their kids use.

Facebook is developing technology that would allow children under the age of 13 to use the social network under supervision from their parent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The move would help the online company, which currently blocks users under 13, target a new audience - and possibly tap new revenue streams, but it could also raise privacy concerns, the paper said.

Under the technology that Facebook, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is testing, the social network could connect a child's account to his or her parents'.

The parents could decide who their kids can connect with on the site and what applications they can use. The technology could allow Facebook to charge parents for games and other entertainment apps accessed by the kids.

According to the Journal, Facebook has been in an awkward position as children at times lie about their ages to get accounts. Federal law requires Web sites to get parental consent before collecting personal data from kids.

"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services," Facebook told the Journal. "We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policy makers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

comments powered by Disqus