Although it is required by law for Facebook users to be at least 13 to join the network, many believe the age limit should be higher, a new study says.
According to a poll conducted among 2,000 consumers on the opinion-based community SodaHead.com, about 34% of respondents said Facebook users should be at least the age of 13 to join. However, most voters selected ages older than 13 as a minimum requirement, as 29% want ages 14 – 17 to be the earliest and 19% said the site should be limited to those over the age of 18.
Only 13% said users between the ages of 10 and 12 were acceptable for the site, followed by 5% approving of people joining between the ages of 7 and 9.
Child privacy laws necessitate Facebook’s age minimum of 13 years old.
Teens are also on board with age restrictions on the site. About 57% of those ages 13 to 17 said the 13-year-old requirement is fair, while only 18% said it should be younger. About 25% said Facebook should raise its age requirement to over 13.
Monica Vila, co-founder of parent blog site The Online Mom told Mashable that parents do tend to agree that 13 and older is the right age for kids to join the site.
“The reality is that most [parents] either agree to allow their younger kids on Facebook after repeated requests or are unaware that their kids have accounts much earlier than 13,” Vila said. “In that sense, the train has left the station — kids under 13 are using Facebook.”
Vila urged parents to focus on instilling best practices on the site to ensure their safety and proper use.
“Let’s stop focusing on what the right age should be and devote the energy instead on how best to guide them to make good use of these platforms,” she said.
Do you agree with Facebook’s minimum age of 13? Do you think it should be higher, lower or based on maturity level? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Infographic courtesy of SodaHead.com