Most Read: Business

 Last Update: : AM 04/26/2015(NASDAQ&DJIA)

World Markets from      


Other Market Data from      


Key Rates from      


Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 09:02 AM ET, 06/13/2011

Underage and on Facebook

From the Sunday paper.

Silly Bandz and Pokeman cards need to make room for another craze hitting the monkey bars crowd: Facebook.

Young children are flocking to social networking Web sites that had been the domain of smartphone-toting high-schoolers and young adults.

About 5 million U.S. users on Facebook are younger than 10 and 2.5 million subscribers are 11 or 12 years old, according to a recent survey by Consumer Reports magazine.

And the youngest of Web users aren’t just on Facebook. They are logging onto social networks such as Formspring, tweeting their location to the Web and making friends out of strangers on Disney and other games sites.

That’s a lot of freedom on the Internet for children who can’t ride in the front seat of a car or leave school with a friend without a signed permission slip from Mom or Dad.

Maybe too much freedom, in the opinion of child advocates and lawmakers, who are pressuring companies to work harder to keep the youngest users offline and to create federal rules that would limit how companies collect information about children on the Internet.

California is deliberating a bill that would give parents the right to demand that social networking sites such as Facebook delete addresses, e-mail accounts and other personally identifiable information about a youth if a parent asks. Facebook, Google and Twitter have launched an assault against the legislation, saying it squashes free expression.

U.S. Reps. Ed J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) have proposed a bill that would make it harder for children to be tracked online and limit marketers from gathering information on a teen’s whereabouts and personal information.

“Companies have had their chance and they haven’t done enough. Kids can be targeted by scammers, cyber-bullies and marketers and the companies aren’t doing enough to protect them,” said Jim Steyer, president of child advocacy group Common Sense Media.

He and lawmakers such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) argue that the great technological minds of Silicon Valley ought to be able to do a better job of verifying the ages of their customers.

Facebook says that’s not so easy.

For the full story, click here.

“How stringent are you when it comes to your child and Facebook privacy?”

By  |  09:02 AM ET, 06/13/2011

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company