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Thread: Facebook Age Limit

  1. #11
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    Is it true that if a kid younger than 13 could have their parents arrested if they sign up (including having permission)? That was read by my parents on Ask.com or some sort of site...
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  2. #12
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    That's what I said earlier in this thread: http://www.dynamicdrive.com/forums/s...45&postcount=5

    It's a law, at least in the US, and it isn't just "asking" them-- you need documented proof of their permission if you are under 13 and signing up for a website that will store "personal information".
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by [Nicolas] View Post
    Is it true that if a kid younger than 13 could have their parents arrested if they sign up (including having permission)? That was read by my parents on Ask.com or some sort of site...
    I'm not sure I follow your question, so correct me if I'm not answering it:

    1. No, a parent cannot be arrested for creating a Facebook account for their under-13 child, even if they know that Facebook doesn't allow it.
    It is likely, however, that if Facebook found out*, they would ban the parents.

    2. COPPA is a rule for websites and operators, not for parents and children. It is the site owner and operators who are liable for violations.

    For example, if a facebook-like website had actual knowledge* they were collecting personal info from under-13 children, and did nothing to either a) obtain parental consent, or b) remove the minor's accounts, they would be subject to fines and/or other legal action.

    * of course, Facebook is certainly aware - at least in an abstract sense - that there are children under the age of thirteen registered on their site. "Knowing" is not the same as having "actual knowledge" in the legal sense; read djr's link.

  4. #14
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    Right. The legality is entirely upon the website owner/operator. If the parents want to allow an exception that's fine, but aside from that the website cannot keep information about users under 13. In other words, the website can allow under 13 users to USE the site, but they can't keep records. If the site's TOS requires that users who sign up are 13 or over, that protects them a bit, but as traq said they'd need to delete any accounts if they found out the users were younger.
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    I think the age limit is a good thing

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    Facebook started toying with myspace status when they started breaking free from their college only roots. Once you break away from limiting e-mail addresses (such as .edu) you are pretty much abandoning all age restrictions. It is pretty easy to hit a button, I used to do it all the time when I was on CompuServe as a youngster.

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    Aside from instances where IDs are actually checked (such as selling alcohol or cigarettes, or entering a nightclub), that's how it will work, especially on the internet. Most pornography sites don't have much more security than clicking a button to claim you are over 18. One method used on some websites is to verify age using a credit card (as well as sometimes charging a fee), but for obvious reasons that is inconvenient and would limit users. For a site like facebook (and most websites, in fact) there are reasons not to make it so difficult to sign up.*

    But as mentioned above, the responsibility of the website appears, at least as commonly occurs in the world today, to notify visitors that only users 13 and older can sign up and then to delete any accounts if they find out users are under 13.


    Another thought about this: I think it is actually legal to keep non-personal information about visitors under 13. You can't store names, phone numbers, addresses, or maybe even favorite colors or anything written by them, but if you store generic data like page hits or "member since", then I think that would be legal. The laws exist to protect the identities of the children, and if there is nothing that could be potentially identifying, then that should be permitted. An example of this is a page counter. Some visitors on the website may be under 13, and it is legal to count that as a page hit and store the information. Of course the ironic part of all that is that their age is probably personal information, so if you know they are under 13, you can't store anything. But if you don't know it (and don't have a possibility of it being posted) then there's no problem.





    *Tangent: does anyone know if verifying age by credit card is actually possible? What if a minor has a credit card? Wouldn't that card process the same way as an adult's card? Or is there some special digital tag attached to the credit cards of minors?
    I had a debit card that functioned as a credit card before I was 18. I'm not sure if having a real credit card is possible, but I also don't know if that method of verification would know the difference between debit and credit cards, when both are used as credit cards, or whether they try to limit debit cards like that. My bank certainly knew my age, but it wasn't directly connected to the card as far as I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by djr33 View Post
    ... does anyone know if verifying age by credit card is actually possible? What if a minor has a credit card?
    it just "thins the herd" a little bit, so to speak. Such checks don't verify anything other than the fact that the credit card exists and is currently valid; the working assumption was that only adults had credit cards.

    of course, that was never strictly true. credit cards have been held by minors, pets, cartoon characters, and the deceased (not to mention kiddies that simply pulled one from their parent's wallet).

    about your non-personally-identifiable question: if you have no indication that the info came from a minor, then (logically) you can treat it as any other info. If your site is not "intended" for minors, you don't really have an obligation to check anyway.

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  10. #19
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    I guess that would be the case, but I'm wondering about the technical details: is there in fact any way to know that sort of thing or perhaps coordinate blocking all cards under 18 through the credit card companies?
    It seems logically possible, but I don't know if that system exists.
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  11. #20
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    I don't think so. I know for a fact that's not how the traditional process works; but I have no idea if that sort of thing would be supported nowadays. like you say, I'm sure it could be - but I kinda doubt it.

    you need it for a specific reason? or just wondering?

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