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Should children under 13 be on Facebook?

Ben James Ben James | 19:18 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Town Hall meeting with President Obama - Getty Images


You might have heard us touch upon this subject on Tuesday's programme - we'll talk about it at more length on Wednesday.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg wants younger children to use his site.

We'd love you to join us if you're a family who can talk to us with your kids at 1700GMT / 1pm EDT about how you use the internet  ... or maybe you're a teacher who might be able to get your class involved in speaking to the programme? (if you're either, please email me)

This is some of what Mark Zuckerberg has said ...

My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age. Because of the [legal] restrictions we haven't even begun this learning process. If they're lifted then we'd start to learn what works.

The age limit at the moment is dictated by a Federal Law in the US passed in 1998. Facebook warns users when signing up not to continue if they're under 13.

We've already had a big response to the story on our own Facebook page ...

Joy in Nairobi posts

No, I wouldn't let them have one because I want them to learn how to maintain relationships in real life before they start using social networking sites and other stand-ins.

Khaleb in Kampala

I would agree with Mark Zuckerberg provided he can assure the rest of us that the usage of Facebook by kids under 13 can be regulated by Facebook.

David in Brazil

If you believe in liberty, equality, and fraternity, you believe access to information should be universal. Freud wrote in his "The Future of an Illusion" that "...it is better (...) not to withhold from them (children) a knowledge of the true state of affairs commensurate with their intellectual level."

And maybe you know under 13s who are already on Facebook anyway (apparently, 7.5 million of them are) - so is this a redundant debate?

Should children under 13 be on Facebook? Or are there good reasons to keep them away? If they do access the site, should anything be done to control what they view? And whose responsibility is that? Facebook? Parents? The government?

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