Parents Helping Kids Lie Online

Friday, November 04, 2011


The Terms of Service on sites like Facebook and Gmail prohibit anyone under the age of 13 from signing up to be in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which regulates how companies can collect data about users under 13. But a new study finds that a lot of parents are actually helping their kids cheat the system so they can access those sites.  Bob speaks with danah boyd, one of the authors of the study "Why Parents help their children lie to Facebook about age."

Comments [2]

Robert from New York City

I am the parent of a 12-yr-old girl, and I helped her lie about her age to establish her FB account. I am writing to comment on my reasons for doing so, which were not covered in the story.

It was going to happen, anyway, and my choice was between whether it was above-ground or under-ground. My tech-savvy kid's school friends were already doing it, some in secret. By making the establishment of the account above-ground, we could monitor it by enforcing certain rules: we must know her username/password, the family computer must maintain her account logged-in, and we require that she know her "friends" in the real world.

Our first choice would have been to wait until she was older, more mature, and more able to recognize her own privacy needs. We felt, based on what we saw some around her doing, that if we didn't bring it out into the open where it could be monitored it would certainly be driven underground where we couldn't know what was going on.

Love the show, have listened forever.


Nov. 08 2011 06:40 AM

The "zero tolerance" moral high ground is hypocritical. Should we shut down every church because one pastor abuses his teenage daughter? Should every high school football team be banned because a few coaches have homosexual relationships with their players? Or ban husbands in marriages because a few are pedophiles?

The world is an imperfect place, and zero-tolerance laws ALWAYS create more collateral damage to other people, and to equally valuable societal freedoms, than they gain in moral purity.

Unless sex ads are shown to systematically create an unavoidable hazard, absolute regulatory bans are inappropriate.

Nov. 06 2011 10:41 AM

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