Council discourage under age Facebook users

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Parents are helping their children to set up under-age profiles on social networking site Facebook, warn Notts County Council.

As a result, it fears children are getting involved in social media at too young an age.

The council’s Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator Matt Rooney said that parents had a responsibility to monitor youngsters’ online activity.

He said: “You should be at least 13-years-old to have a Facebook page but this is not legally enforceable.”

“Most parents are genuinely surprised when we tell them that social networking websites like Facebook have rules that state children under the age of 13 cannot use them.”

They recommend parents follow five simple steps:

• Create family/home rules about using the internet

• Keep your computer in a family room

• Talk openly about the internet and make sure your children know to talk to you if something happens which is not right

• Do not give out personal information on-line (full name, age, school, address, phone number etc)

• Do not open or allow your children to open accounts on social networks if they are not old enough

A Facebook spokeswoman said it set the age limit for setting up accounts to comply with international regulations on children accessing social media.

It also said it applied more stringent protections and security settings for its younger users aged between 13 and 17.