“My philosophy is that for education, you need to start at a really young age”, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the New Schools Summit in California, about why he thinks children under the age of 13 should be allowed to be Facebook members. Currently the age restriction requires that one be thirteen years or older to get a Facebook log on ID, but of course it is not difficult to avoid this and create an account anyway. Consumer Reports recently reported that there are about 7.5 million children under the age of 13 on Facebook.
Zuckerberg explained that, in his view, software and technology will help students learn a lot from one another, and that if COPPA were lifted, “we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger children] are safe. “ COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, makes it illegal for web sites to collect information on children under the age of 13.
However, amidst growing concern about online privacy in general, lifting COPPA may be optimistic. Senator John Rockefeller on Thursday question Facebook Chief Technology Officer on Capital Hill saying: “I want you to defend your company here because I don’t know how you can.”