Recently Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would like to have children under 13 use his site. That’s not feasible right now because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which says that websites can’t collect information on users younger than 13.
The internet being what it is, mostly everyone is cynical of Mr. Zuckerberg’s motives. They think he’s part of some evil privacy invasion plot, exaggerated slightly. Mr. Zuckerberg says he wants the children on his site for educational purposes…
“Education is clearly the biggest thing that will drive how the economy improves over the long term,” Zuckerberg said. “We spend a lot of time talking about this.”
Mr. Zuckerberg said this basically as an off-hand comment during an interview and not as some kind of proclamation. He’s been a big proponent of education since he’s made his fortune so I think he’s being genuine. I also think he’s being naive. Mr. Zuckerberg is still in his 20s albeit his late 20s. While educating children is indeed a lofty goal unfortunately this is not a perfect world and some people do use Facebook for nefarious purposes against children. Add that to uneducated or inattentive parents and you have a recipe for disaster by having young children on Facebook.
I don’t think his idea is totally without merit though. Maybe if there was a separate Facebook that could be moderated by school faculties might not be a bad idea. However, even then you’d have to worry about less than reputable educators.
The bottom line is Mr. Zuckerberg’s heart is in the right place but unfortunately, we are far off from the time where this could be a reality.