Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

I fear for what kids will really learn on Facebook

By Jane Graham

Published 04/06/2011

What kind of sleep-walking opt-out parent lets their 10-year-old child open a Facebook account?

One that's only half as stupid as the American mom-zilla who's started one for her unborn baby.

I laughed when I read that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg intends to 'fight' for kids under 13 to use his site due to its outstanding educational benefits.

Zuckerberg has been criticised for an apparent lack of concern about young and susceptible users of his site.

He resisted for a time against installing a panic button to alert the police to serious threatening behaviour on Facebook but later relented.

Campaigners have also raised concerns about the invasion of privacy, online bullying, racist ranting, suicide groups, hate mobs and all the other delightful stuff Facebook users enjoy getting together to indulge in.

According to billionaire Zuckerman, the ban on pre-teens hanging out on Facebook is interfering with what he bafflingly calls the 'learning process' that his fuzzy site provides.

But lots of parents seem to agree with him - research shows, despite the ban, a fifth of UK children aged nine to 12 have a Facebook site.

And in the US, proud parents-to-be are hoovering up cyber pals for their little foetuses - one already has nearly 300 'friends'.

I hope all that education will be worth the death of innocence and slow-puncturing of the soul that such an early introduction to the social network will bring. Party on!

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