The kids under 13 are already on Facebook, and Facebook knows this. It's a
challenge faced by every community site and social network where adults are the
primary target audience, including the search engine/Q&A site where I
work.We're sometimes surprised when a kid outs himself/herself
as being under 13, because the quality of the contributions is more that of an
adult; other times, we can spot underage kids a mile away by the quality (or
lack thereof) of their communication skills. What does this mean for
Facebook? I think it's a step to recognizing that the underage kids
aren't going away from Facebook or any other online community without lots
of barriers to overall participation. Legalizing participation places
responsibility on parents rather than on Facebook for controlling content and
managing the experience. Yes, it will increase ad views somewhat, but I doubt it
will be an exponential increase since most of these underage kids are already on
Facebook, having lied about their birth year in order to gain access.
The kids are already there. My son when he was 13 wanted a Facebook account
because all of his friends were already there. After discussion with his mother
and I, we decided to let him get an account. I was required to be friended by
him so I could see what he was posting. He just falsified his date of birth.
Not a big deal as long as parents are involved.