Parents 'aiding and abetting' under age kids on Facebook

Parents 'aiding and abetting' under age kids on Facebook
Parents need to do more to keep pre-teens off Facebook, says minister

Parents of children under thirteen are actively helping them to set-up Facebook accounts, according to the Minister for Children.

Pre-teen kids are forbidden from joining the social network, but mums and dads are "aiding and abetting," the sign up process, says MP Tim Loughton.

Children can, and of course do, quite easily enter false information about their date of birth in order to gain access to the site, but Facebook will remove underage accounts that are brought to its attention.

Personal experience

Mr Loughton, who has three children, says: "Having a Facebook page, you should be at least 13 to do that. That is not legally enforceable. We know, and I know from personal experience, the temptations for younger children to set up a Facebook site and get involved with those social media.

"I also know that in too many cases they do that aided and abetted by parents. So it's not just a question of giving information to parents, it's making sure parents are acting responsibly on behalf of their children too."

Despite it having no real means of enforcing the pre-teen rule, Facebook does provide a set of guidelines for parents, offering advice.

Sexting clampdown

Meanwhile, earlier today in parliament, another MP warned of the dangers for youngsters who've sent explicit photos from their phones, or engaged in sexting.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey wants the government and mobile phone companies to do more to raise awareness of the issues that often lead to photos being shared without consent.

"Once taken and sent, the sender loses control of these images and they could end up anywhere from being passed all around school to being viewed and passed on by paedophiles," she said.

"Sexting becomes a tool of coercion, threat and power as young people are encouraged to take pictures or videos or themselves, initially often for a financial reward or because they are groomed into thinking the person is their boyfriend."

She wants the government and mobile companies to pay for advertising to further educate misguided youngsters.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.