Why does Facebook need children?
09 June 2012

Facebook has revealed that it wants to allow children to register on the social network under the supervision of their parents. Parents will be able to control whom their children add as friends on their pages and, in general, to understand with whom they communicate. The initiative is good, but it looks like its goal is to increase the number of users, which by now exceeds 900 million people.

“In my opinion, it really is an attempt to attract attention. This is yet another instance reminding them of the fact that the IPO that was not very successful. Besides, children do register there anyway, they only add several years to their age,” Russian IT-specialist Alexander Shestakov believes.

However, Director General of the Duemarx marketing intelligence agency Elena Rogacheva absolutely does not agree. She often conducts master classes in schools on safe Internet usage, and she is sure that behaviour standards in the networks must be instilled from a young age.

“I believe that any attempt to protect children in social networks, including the one that is now suggested by Facebook, must be encouraged and supported. And such a function as control of adding friends on children’s pages is necessary, because most of the children indiscriminately add everybody who comes knocking. Consequently, they can disclose too much unnecessary information about themselves. As for binding children's pages to the pages of their parents, I think that this can do more harm than good. In this way malefactors will be able to figure out and find parents through their children and cause some damage.”

Elena Rogacheva recalls last year's kidnapping of Ivan Kaspersky, the son of the famous anti-virus software creator Eugene Kaspersky. The criminals figured out the young man’s location based on data taken from social networks. They tried to blackmail his parents, extorting a large sum of money. Moreover, according to Elena, there are lots of cases when children leave a status update such as “going to the sea”, and in the meantime thieves visit their empty houses.

In response to Voice of Russia’s question concerning the proper way children should behave online, Elena Rogacheva said:

“They would be better off having not just one page on social networks, but preferably two or three, in order to reduce the risk, and not add all friends on one account. They also should not disclose a lot of information and post personal photos in networks. There were cases when people, when at school or university, had posted their pictures, and later – when they were applying for a job – they were being turned down because this information reached their potential employers.”

Speaking about possible registration of children in their social network, Facebook representatives have promised to create a special page for parents with advice on proper behavior on the Internet. But is it going to bring results? After all, communication standards cannot be instilled in one day; it should start from birth. And it concerns communication both on the Internet and offline.

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