I had a surprise last week when I interviewed Facebook’s head of policy in Britain. In the week that the online social networking site floated on the stock market for £67 billion, Simon Milner said that the company wanted to start a debate about whether children under the age of 13 should be allowed to sign up.
“There is reputable evidence that there are kids under 13 who are lying about their age to get on to Facebook,” said Mr Milner. “Some seem to be doing it with their parents’ permission and help.”
Milner will launch a debate about the minimum age in Britain when he appears next month at The Sunday Times Festival of Education at Wellington college, Berkshire.
“We have a strict under-13 rule because of legal issues in America,” said Milner. “We apply the same rule all over the world. But a lot of parents are happy their kids are on it. We would like to hear from people what the answer might be.”
Supporters of the minimum age believe it helps shield children from cyberbullying and inappropriate contact with adults.
I’d love to know what you think. Do post with your views (here’s the full version of my interview if you want more background)