Facebook Underage User : Violation?

When Facebook Comes Borderlessly


Facebook -as most any other social network sites- requires its user has to meet terms and policy that they have to be at least 13 years old or higher in certain area for permitted registration.

Since Facebook introduced few years ago, most people would be agree it has become the most booming social network worldwide. Facebook users has hit fantastic number reaching 800 million as September 2011 as released by Mashable.com .
Facebook in Indonesia

Placing the country as forth most inhabitant in the world doesn't really mean Indonesia can't gain more record, Indonesian on Facebook occupy 40.8 million of total users or at rough 5% Facebookers are Indonesian. Now the country ranks #2 position of Facebook user by amount as currently released by Socialbakers.com .

Away from record, the fact behind tells more how Facebook deeply influences behavior and internet responsibility that of netizen. Some 7.5 millions Facebook users were under 13 years old meanwhile around 5 millions were under 10 years old, Consumer Reports said.

But I have no finding of exact statistical data figuring violation of Facebook terms and policy by authorized law regarding to underage user case in Indonesia. The profound Facebook facts in my country is about amount occupy, the second one though still biased is that teen under 18 (mostly girl) abused by intensive convince violated by someone else stranger through Facebook. The victim go off the home and approaching stranger ignoring parent advice.

My Student Case

Though this seems particular outliers of some Facebook cases, but I think the following case is proper to be concerned. This morning as usual biweekly teaching voluntary in elementary school I and other members of ICSF do our schedule. About an hour class I'm glad they pay attention on my instruction to elaborate solution of Global Warming through visual art work, they draw their ideas on plain paper then I gather their work aftermath.

But before the class dismissed, I attempt to conduct small research on behavior of my student regarding to internet. The reason is just basic, initially I intend to encourage them looking for some beneficial information on internet out of common method practiced by their teachers. It has become so convenient to help them learning their subjects beyond the book or general explanation. They deserve to get accessible information profoundly.

By consider, the school located in suburb area but internet cafe are flocking anywhere over the way since their settlement surrounding my campus area. And what a surprising about more than half of my students are active Facebook user though considerably they are around 9-10 years old. I knew as I ask them to put their email and Facebook account behind their drawing. Nothing against COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) I conduct this research to bear the fact and finding my students behavior, for their development observe.

Me : "Anyone here using Facebook?"
Some raise the hand
Some Students : "I am! I have registered for Facebook, and now I'm using Facebook"
Me : "How many time do you usually log on Facebook?"
Some Students : "Once a week (mostly), sometimes two times in one week!"
Me: "What usually do you do on Facebook?"
Some Students : "Playing online games!"
Some Students : "Socialize with other classmate"
Me : "How long do you log on Facebook?"
Some Students : "2 hours in most, or 2.5 hours"
Me : "Ok, how old are you now?"
Some Students : "I'm 9"
Some Students : "I'm 10"
Me : "Well, anyone knows here, Facebook regulation, the user must be at least 13 years old. Have you ever heard about?"
Some Students : "I have no idea, but it's not a big deal. I only go on with Facebook and nothing wrong is happening. And so, why do they constrain the user?"
Me : "Because it's international rule, and the protection for children is must. And because you are children"
Some Students : "So far we don't have problem by using Facebook, indeed we only use it for online games. And we don't log on Facebook daily, just sometimes. Everything is Ok"

Excavating that fact is not difficult, but facing the fact with solution is not easy. To be honest, till now I have no endowing notion to constrain them on Facebook if I go with the law. The case is quite different. Whoever can't immediately prohibit, instead their parents don't know (in my assesment) the terms and condition in which whether their children are prohibited or not by using Facebook. Some parents don't take concern on internet utilization for their children. Children by themselves access internet on Cyber cafe by purchasing only IDR 2,000/hour ( USD 0.2 or 20 cents, assuming 1 USD = IDR 10,000).

Some others add me "Friend Request" on my Facebook account though none of them I approve yet. I have to dive their intention first, but I make deal with them before, we can contact through Facebook since we can't meet intensively to discuss their subject. Not for other purposes.

For uncertain temporarily time I suppose them are allowed for Facebook since they utilize for educational purpose, doesn't matter with games but they still need to be responsible with their education. They are highly suggested to share informative stuff, not limited through Facebook, but they can browse on other websites.

That's the case I investigate directly, I guess the terms and policy may be studied more adapted to certain social circumstance. We can't generalize all of any condition for diversely anthropogenic behavior. But united regulation internationally is proper to be kept.

Having any idea or solution? Kindly share.

Image Credit : cubancouncil.com

2 Response to Facebook Underage User : Violation?

February 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM

thanks for sharing this research of yours. i can easily spot some 'friends' of mine who are under-age (usually they're children of my friends). i think this kind of violation is rampant everywhere, in Indonesia and elsewhere. the solution may have to come not only from the platform itself but through the support of educators (school teachers), parents, and other stakeholders.

May 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Actually Facebook is beneficial even for children if they know how to use it wisely. Yet, several years ago I (either posted in my wall or sent it to the administrator) hoped that kids can have their own FB territory. The problem is that cyber world is like a world without borders. How can we enter this world and start making borders?! My kids have their FB account for online games, but they do posting comments too. To take the positive sight, I used it to know their friends and to peek into their comments. Some of my kids' friends and my students added me as their friends. Yet, I sometimes warned them about the negative impact of social media.

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