PARKVILLE, Mo. - Facebook is intended for children over 13 years old.
However, the social media giant is working to create better portals for parents to keep watch, so kids much younger can sign up, too.
The Seymour brothers, Caleb and Owen, were allowed on Facebook two years early.
“I usually get on once a day,” Owen explained.
He is just 11.
“I post funny things that I've seen or talk to friends that I don't normally get to see,” he said.
According to a 2011 Consumer Report survey, Owen is part of a group of 7.5 million children that have Facebook profiles.
Some lie about their ages. Others have parents who make it available.
Kelly Seymour sees guiding her sons through social media as part of raising children in 2012.
“Their computer is kind of down here and so we see what they're doing and how often they're on it,” she explained.
She faces social media head-on. After each boy finished the fifth grade, they were allowed to create their own Facebook page.
“It's just like teaching healthy eating habits. You don't wait until your kid is ten to introduce him to a carrot, you kind of start young so they're accustomed to eating carrots,” Seymour said. “Let's help you have good healthy habits so that when I'm not around, you can make good choices."
But she knew she'd need extra eyes. So, not only is it a rule her children must "friend" her, other responsible relatives friend them, too.
“I immediately sent emails to every family member, upwards of 28 people, saying 'Caleb now has a Facebook page and I need you to friend him,'” she said with a smile.
Her sons have seen the effects of the family safety net.
“After I post something, I'll see that a family member likes this. And it lets me know that I'm being watched," Owen explained.
That system works for the Seymour household.
But Facebook is working to find ways to create its own safety net.
One possibility will be to connect a parent’s Facebook profile to their child’s.
In a statement released Sunday, Facebook didn't deny looking into the issue of underage users but, at this point, said it doesn't have any official announcement to make.
41 Action News will, of course, continue to watch this and let you know how it works, if it is rolled out.
What do you think about opening the door to children under 13 years old? Weigh in here.
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