Not content with already having over 600 million users Mark Zuckerberg wants pre-teens to be able to legally become Facebook members.
While the legal age varies from country to country companies are usually prevented from collecting personal information from people under the age of 13. Zuckerberg believes that allowing children on the social network will help companies learn how to better protect children online. He also believes that social networking sites have untapped educational benefits for children.
Speaking to CNN’s Fortune Zuckerberg says that Facebook can be beneficial to children’s education. “My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age…If [age restrictions are] lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [preteens] are safe.”
However, the social network is already popular with pre-teens. A Europe wide study found that 38% of EU teenagers under the age of 13 are already members of the social networking site. According to the study British and Irish children used the highest security settings on the site; this, the authors argue, was as a result of strong information campaigns run in the these countries.
Zuckerberg is likely to court controversy with the statement; last week Facebook was criticised by a US Senate committee for not doing enough to protect children from inappropriate people or material on the network.
Facebook countered saying that they have developed two versions of their site, one for over 18s and one, more secure network, for under 18s.