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Facebook & Instagram to remove underage children

If your child is below the age of 13 years old and they are on Instagram and Facebook, they may be removed from the platform. At least that is what Facebook says in a report given to TechCrunch.

If Facebook suspects that a user is below the age of 13 years old they will be required to provide an official ID (passport or ID card) to get back into the platforms. The good news is that now children below the age of 13 cannot access the platform.

I know many parents will feel this way :

The problem is that many parents are still unaware that social media networks minimum age requirement is 13 years old. The reason why Facebook is cracking down on this is because there are plenty of advertisements such as alcohol, gambling, loans,  and many more videos and content inappropriate for children.

Facebook has raised the minimum age for Whatsapp to be 16 years old. Users are being asked to enter their birth date when singing up into the app. But yet many children below the age of 16 are using Whatsapp This is because parents find it easier to communicate with their kids using Whatsapp and let them continue using it.

I think it is good that tech giant like Facebook is paying more attention to issues of children safety. The increased scrutiny on Facebook after Cambridge Analytica, fake news, screen time addiction, and election interference may have pressured Facebook to take this measure. Though Facebook will crackdown on underage children on its platform it has introduced Messenger for Kids. Is this Facebook way of hooking children from a young age? Its hard to know what Facebook exact motive is.

While Facebook is now doing its part on safeguarding children online, what about us parents? I find myself showing my 11 year old nephew Facebook so he learns what it is all about. He does not have a Facebook account and will not have one until he reaches the age of 13 years old. This is an approach I take to prepare him for the virtual world. Maybe he will grow up not wanting to have a presence on social media, but if he does, I hope he will be prepared for the content he will be exposed to. This can be seen as wrong by many parents. Maybe I need to rethink this approach. What do you all think?

Don’t forget to stay safe online

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