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Safety Comes First
No matter what they do, creators of social networks cannot keep youngens off their sites. Little Johanna sees her big sister Samantha on Facebook. She’s in high school and she’s so cool. So even though it says you need to be need to be 13, Johanna lies about the year of her birth and signs up. But she’s not alone—the Telegraph says that a quarter of all eight- to 11-year-olds in the UK have a profile on a social networking site.
The Home Office in the UK (similar to the United States Homeland Security) wants the sites, like Facebook and MySpace, to post emergency numbers for young teenagers and children. The contact information could be used if an individual was a victim of online abuse. The government is also considering other options for protecting kids, including a free download for parents that could limit the time spent or ban the sites all together.
The posting of these important phone numbers, like an advertisement, might reach this young demographic. The sites could already be promoting inappropriate material, but those ads could be replaced with warning messages for anyone 18 and younger. This would be effective, unless a nine-year-old pretends to be 40. With some wishful thinking and letters to the government, maybe this could start a safety trend that could take off in the U.S. [Telegraph]