Online age restrictions and privacy policies for children

Posted on August 29, 2017

online-age-restrictions.jpgIt is beyond amazing to see parents talking on Facebook and other social media sites that their children as young as seven years-old have online accounts.

Obviously they are not aware of these sites age restrictions. Frankly, why would a seven year-old even need a social media account?

They are not mature enough to handle situation that could arise and there are age restrictions and privacy policies put in place for the protection of children.

If they encountered an adult situation online, or even be digitally harassed,they would not know how to handle it.

A December 2014 PEW Research poll found that half of Americans who spend time online don’t know what a privacy policy is.

Parents not only allow their children under 13 to join social media sites when they are clearly not of age, but they actually set up accounts for their children who are under 13.

Most privacy policies are written in terminology that the average person is not able to comprehend or interpret. Yet, even when the privacy policies are clear, they are ignored.

Joseph Turow, who conducted the PEW poll, said: “Many people don’t actually read privacy policies; they simply look at the label,” says Turow. “And the intuitive understanding — the cultural understanding — of the label is that when something says ‘privacy policy,’ it protects your privacy.”

If parents lack privacy policy understanding, is that an excuse not to respect age restrictions on social media sites?

According to recent research by KidSay, tweens’ (kids ages 8-11) number one website is YouTube. This report also found that 93% of tweens use YouTube and 69% claim to have an account.

Parents must be cautious of the hidden dangers that lurk on social media sites like the discovery of fake online pharmacies and cyber-criminals selling credit cards. Both of these issues are considered cyber-crimes that children could be exposed to.

Google recently announced that it revamped its’ products for tweens and younger. As the number one search engine, they have a responsibility to children.

Most websites, social media sites and networking sites have terms of service, a code of conduct and privacy policies. They list age restrictions. As children become more cyber-savvy at younger ages, parents must be educated and understand these terms and why these terms exist.

Parents, grandparents and guardians may believe their child is ready for Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites, yet all clearly state ages 13 years and up. The reason is and your child may not be ready for what they could encounter on sites without age-appropriate limitations.

Ask yourself : How much you know about the web and digital technology?

Double check your privacy settings on all your social media sites, regularly.

You could face legal issues when you allow a tween on a site that requires them to lie about their age.

Keep your children safe online and respect the age restrictions of each site. When your children reach the appropriate age to open an account on these sites, help them to understand privacy policies and ensure that they are mature enough to be on these sites.