Study: Young Kids Lying to Get On Facebook, And Parents Help

3:36 PM, Nov 1, 2011   |    comments
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By Anne Collier, Salt Lake City, UT ( -- A whole lot of us know that 13 is Facebook's minimum age, but fewer of us know that the reason for that is not kids' online safety but a law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act designed to protect the privacy of kids' data - a law administered by the Federal Trade Commission, which right now has it under review.

COPPA requires parental consent before sites can collect any data from children under 13...

But the authors of a new study about the unintended consequences of COPPA - "Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age" - found that, by requiring "parental consent" in one area, data protection, COPPA undermines it in another: parents' ability to decide when Facebook and other social sites are appropriate for their own kids.

And parents' response has been not only to condone their "underage" children's Facebook use but in the vast majority of cases to help them sign up, the study found.

Parents support kids, not COPPA 

Among parents of 10-to-14-year-old Facebook users, 84% were aware their children signed up and, of that 84%, nearly two-thirds (64%) even "helped create the account," the authors wrote. "Our data show that many parents knowingly allow their children to lie about their age - in fact, often help them to do so - in order to gain access to age-restricted sites in violation of those sites' Terms of Service.

See Anne's entire article on Net Family News' website

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