Facebook sees itself as having lots of educational potential. They just need the right students to whom they can teach. To Facebook, that might mean friending your kids. You know, the ones under the age of 13. You know, the ones who pretty much everyone agrees shouldn’t be on there in the first place.
There’s little doubt Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is all for education; he pledged $100 million to schools in Newark, New Jersey, last year (never mind that it coincided with the PR nightmare for him that was The Social Network; philanthropy is still philanthropy).
Earlier this month the 27-year-old college dropout gazillionaire said at an education forum that “education is the clearly the biggest thing that will drive how the economy improves over the long term.”
“In the future, software and technology will enable people to learn a lot from their fellow students,” Zuckerberg said, according to Fortune. He envisions students studying online and encouraging their friends to do the same.
Most notably, Zuckerberg said he wants younger kids to be allowed sites such as Facebook. In order to do that, he’ll need to change the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which mandates that websites that collect information about users aren’t allowed to sign on anyone under the age of 13. But Zuckerberg is determined to change this. Why?
“My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age,” he said.
He’s not sure yet how Facebook would be used by younger kids, but he emphasized precautions would be taken to keep them safe.
Maybe it’s too early in the game to tell, but I don’t think kids younger than 13 have the maturity, or frankly, the need to be on sites like Facebook. The current young generation doesn’t know from life before the Internet, but I still think it’s OK for kids to wait for some things until they get older.
With all of the good things to come out of sites like Facebook, there are the downsides, like cyberbullying and predators and all of the other disturbing stories that are becoming more ubiquitous on a daily basis. More education is a nice idea, but why not keep it in school until kids reach middle school at least. Plenty of TV shows claim to have an educational value, too, and just maybe they really do, but in the end, it’s still just watching TV. And even if a cereal box has some math trivia questions or a mind-bending puzzle on the back of the box, its contents are still loaded with sugar.
Do you think kids under 13 should be allowed on Facebook if it somehow became more educational?
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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