Zuckerberg said he wants younger kids to be allowed on social networking sites like Facebook. Currently, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) mandates that websites that collect information about users (like Facebook does) aren’t allowed to sign on anyone under the age of 13. But Zuckerberg is determined to change this.
“That will be a fight we take on at some point,” he said. “My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age.”
But just how would Facebook’s social features be used by younger children?
“Because of the restrictions we haven’t even begun this learning process,” Zuckerberg said. “If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids] are safe.”
Here are my first thoughts.
1. PESSIMISM: Of course Mark Zuckerberg wants kids on Facebook – Facebook is a advertising & trend analysis GOLD MINE dressed as a happy, friend-connecting social network. Kids are the largest licensing group, and advertisers would LOVE to get their hands on that kind of market.
So much for the ENTIRE POINT OF COPPA – which wasn’t created for your immediate privacy, but created to PROTECT CHILDREN FROM MARKETERS STEALING OR SWINDLING PII.
Also see: Facebook Forced to Address Legal Gray Area of Kids and Advertising from AdAge. http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-forced-address-kids-advertising/227633/
2. FEAR: Oh, that’s a GREAT idea. Why not make more PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION ABOUT MINORS available? Tre sigh. Yes, education is VERY important – particularly about secret identities. But, children under the age of 13 DO NOT HAVE THE COGNITIVE CAPABILITIES TO BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR PUBLIC PERSONA. Part of being young is that you’re protected and allowed to make mistakes – by allowing that on Facebook – a public platform that reaches far beyond the lunch room, and far beyond your mom telling your aunt about that stupid detention you got? BOO. Not ideal.
3. LOGISTICS & CONCERNS: MODERATION. SCALABILITY. COST. Even if Facebook DID man up and start pre-screening all content contributed by U13 sources, what a nightmare! Staff to cover something like that? Insane. And neither revenue nor cost efficient.
4. HOPE: Any sort of “educational program” that comes with U13 on Facebook would have to be an entire new entity. Think: Facebook Junior, profile training wheels. It would have to be limited, with tutorials and information, and educational guidance. Leverage the sort of YouTube content that SweetyHigh has created (worth checking out). But in no way, would Facebook be able to cruise right into allowing U13 without redesigning the fundamental/core use of Facebook.
4. REALITY: I deal EVERY SINGLE DAY with kid chat, and kid posts, and kid interactions, and behavior crises from U13. I worry about social networks for children that do NOT rely on fantastical role play or themed-content. Those two elements help protect direct attacks (or even mistaken, indirect attacks) on a sensitive and underdeveloped child by allowing creative persona & identity hiding (to a certain extent, of course – real friends playing in fantasy worlds blends that reality vs role play, and takes interaction to a different level). Children are still in the process of social learning. Social learning CAN be expanded – and I do applaud the idea of social network education… but tossing youth into the deep end, where there are daily Trojan attacks on accounts, stolen identity issues & account phishing, cyberbullying, advertising lures, and STRANGERS is not ideal. Think about it: not even normal, rational adults can successfully navigate Facebook accurately…
If there is a way for Zuckerberg to incorporate social networking education, with Facebook structure, I’m eager to see it – but there are quite a few MASSIVE problems in his path. And with this audience? Bowling through the ideals without proper guidance, understanding, or safety nets = not a safe agenda.
I hope Zuck collects his facts, has the necessary research concluded, and (excuse the phrase) gets his shizzz straight before he really dives into something like this. For as much as I applaud optimistic philosophy, I desire educated practicality.
Planet Cazmo is going to partner with Fox’s Teen Choice 2010 awards and entertainment mogul Tony Mottola to create a custom virtual environment called the Virtual Teen Choice Beach Party. The special virtual environment will be directly accessible from a link on the Teen Choice Website. The Teen Choice 2010 awards will air August 9 at 8 EST on Fox Users will be able to visit the virtual beach party after casting their votes online.
In the Virtual Teen Choice Beach Party, users will be able to design an avatar and a virtual home. In the virtual world, users can chat, play mini-games, virtually dance, and even purchase virtual goods. One of the goods for sale will be a branded good shaped like the award show’s signature Teen Choice Surfboard. This won’t be the first virtual event Planet Cazmo has developed for a major brand or celebrity partner. Previous projects developed by Planet Cazmo were primarily virtual concerts or music-themed, though.
Okay… So, wow.
First, I do find it absolutely RAD that Planet Cazmo has broken the start-up, non-uber-brand IP curse and managed to score such a marketing bonanza as TEEN CHOICE AWARDS on Fox. That’s kinda huge. Brings in the eyeballs – aka, sudden brand awareness.
For the last two years I’ve watched Planet Cazmo score quite a few influential contracts with big music peeps… They’re freakin’ email machines – no one sends as many newsletters as this site… seriously. There is always something going on it seems.
The art is easy, not too complex. The world is expansive (almost too expansive, but they try to pack everyone into the same server- providing the PARTY! feel of busy-busy).
Again, I’m still floored by their marketing department and promotions… well played for such high profile awesomeness.
PROBLEM: I just logged in as a minor and was able to share “my” phone number (or, ya know, the Empire Carpet guy’s number, five eight eight two three zero zero), “my” address (or, ya know, the white house), amongst other things. Then I created another account, logged in, and watched myself say the same content all over again (aka, the public can read it, its not just author-only jedi-mind-trickin’).
At least they caught “shadows are as dark as holes” – but as holes, for as swarthy a curse as it is in kid land, is NOT A LEGAL PROBLEM.
I can’t believe I just logged in, approved my “child” via email plus, and then passed out faux-personal information. What the what?! AND THEY’RE GOING UBER-PUBLIC WITH A TV SPONSORSHIP! It makes me very, very nervous for them.
Talk about disappointed. I’ve been dealing with several companies lately that are looking to ensure that they’re sponsorships/partnerships/etc with youth virtual worlds are LOCKED DOWN and safe… why the heck didn’t Fox check into the legal nature of Planet Cazmo?
I’m still absolutely astounded that I could give addresses and phone numbers. Baffled, even.
The NFLPA and the FVPF have launched a national public service
advertising campaign designed to help teens recognize online dating
abuse and prevent it from happening with e-cards called “That’s Not
The campaign invites teens to create their own “Callout Cards” that
can be used to raise awareness of teen dating abuse and win cool
prizes, with the grand prize winner receiving a trip to Washington to
attend players’ gala later this year.
I’m going to be perfectly honest: I have no idea what this is about.
Things I see & assume:
1. Based on my tenure in moderation: Digital dating (or, more particularly – digital explicit sexually charged conversations) are on the rise, and kinda sketch – and for tweens/early teens in social gaming, these relationships are with people they meet online.
2. Based on what I’ve seen from teens in social networks & real life dating – they are not ashamed of explicit content nor do they hide their highly charged, uber-sexual social exploration (example: a 13 year old relative of mine posted lyrics to a song which suggested the sexual act. Her boyfriend of the moment commented on her status saying, “you mean you wanna f*ck”. Our whole family can see these comments, and neither seem to care).
3. Sports social gaming / etc sites, that I’ve visited, have had the most – THE MOST – aggressive audience, if we’re talking about tweens/teens. Why? They’re not getting the adrenaline payoff or euphora-burst they would get from a hard fought game, or from a big-win as a fan. Due to most of the sites treating sportsfans like adult-kids (stat tracking and not emphasizing the playground crazy love of sports & games), they are looking for social competition – and from there its all an equation, right?
Hormones of demographic + need for euphora + competitive drive + strength and determination + excitement + social environment + boredom + mixed gender avatars of cartoon-cuteness = forms of dating abuse? …Perhaps… It might be a leap, or it might make sense… up to you how you want to swallow that pill.
4. The current plight of mega-star athletes and their, ahem, discretions (and inability to stay faithful, perhaps? …Tiger, Shaq, Kobe, and the many, many football players who are outted in the press – wasn’t there a football player killed last year by his mistress?)
Whatever the NFL’s reasons for this campaign – I say thank you. I like to believe that every little bit helps, and if the NFL wants to help an image, I think this is a smart path.
Why? Technological education is NEEDED – but not just “math blaster” education, but a variety of support that reflect digital lives AND offline lives. This is an excellent example, just as Sweety High’s youtube videos about cyberbullying and netiquette.
Problems teens/tweens are experiencing online are now very much reflecting problems offline, and vice versa. Finding new ways to educate and empower youth to protect themselves, build a voice, find a mentor, become a mentor, protect others, better themselves, believe in the systems surrounding them, etc… the better off we will all be.
Long story short, I’m hoping for good things of this initiative, and I hope they don’t drop the ball (muhohahahaha, sorry, i love with a pun works well with a story). There’s something here, and it’d be nice to see the NFL support it for the long haul, and with a boisterous voice, yeah? None of this “PR” schtick and hide. Fingers crossed.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is a group which aims to stop the effect that corporate marketing has on children. Based in Boston, this group has a list of several dozen campaigns such as “CCFC to Nick and Burger King: SpongeBob and Sexualization Don’t Mix!” and “Stop PG-13 Blockbusters from Targeting Preschoolers”. The group has now targeted Nick.com for promoting its sister-site, AddictingGames.com, because the latter site contains “sexualized and violent” flash games like Sorority Panty Raid, Naughty Classroom and Perry the Sneak. CCFC requests that NickJr.com and Nick.com stop linking to such content “to children as young as preschoolers.”
Zoinks! Click the link above for more information regarding this…
Typically sites need to have some sort of:
A) URL Clicking Policy – I subscribe to the two clicks method (used to be three clicks method, but times change). If I can get to inappropriate content within TWO clicks of a main page – that’s not good. My problem? Social media and the idea of the “e” audience… aka EVERYONE. So many people are using Facebook and Twitter as community tools to help engage a wide-reaching audience. I understand this… but here’s my problem: even if I control the content seen on my facebook page, and even if I control the content on my twitter account… I can’t control the content of the people who friend me. So, if you’re in my facebook group, I can click on your picture in my “friends” box and possibly access inappropriate content. Le sigh. This is a sketchy area and I feel as a community/safety profession I lose ground on this almost by the month.
B) Bumper page – the intention of bumper pages is to help young users “pause” in their link-clicking and rethink their decision to leave that site, as the site they’re traveling to is not under their power, and content may appear that shouldn’t. But… if Viacom owns the sites in question – why would they bumper page their own content?
It’s something you need to talk about, be aware of, and try to form policy or decisions around… don’t get caught.
One game, however, stood out among the rest as the Best Family Game of 2009. The nominees were:
- Club Penguin
- Free Realms
- Fusion Fall
- Wizard 101
The Winner: Wizard 101
Wizard 101 has been heralded as the kid’s MMO for adults. The game is geared toward a younger audience with its playful characters and cartoon graphics, but don’t be fooled by its exterior. Inside Wizard 101 is an intense MMO that uses great special effects for spells, daring and risky card game style combat, and a fun universe to explore for players.
The reason Wizard 101 takes home our Best Family Game of 2009 is because kids can play it with their parents and no one will be bored. Hardcore MMO players have come forward and said the game is fun and exciting to them as well.
LOOKIE LOOKIE, WHO HAS THE COOKIE!
YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I am really pleased with this out come. For as much as I still nod-in-appreciation to Club Penguin, this is really a well-deserved win.
Think about it:
Wizard101 came from an independent company without broadcast support (aka, no big dog marketing pushes, like Disney / Cartoon Network / MTV / Sony, etc). It was smart enough to find an IP that could be both independent in content & game play, but also capitalize on a desired-yet-missing brand (HARRY POTTER, PEOPLE).
It’s got boy game play, girl game play, school play, card play, and it effectively finds ways to suck a wallet drive (subscription only gets you so far – potions & rides/mounts are extra $$).
It’s the MMO I play as often as I can, and because I ENJOY playing it – not just for work / research.
What I’d like to see Wizard101 do in the next year?
1. Make houses more important – why do I care I’m in the Fire house? Why do I care others are in the Fire house? Give me reasons to be Fire-House-Evangelist in the game, please!
2. Change the chat set up. By “redding” out the words that I cannot use – you are giving me clues to work-arounds. OH, I can’t say “dork”? Well then, let me try “door k” DONE. Thanks red for telling me WHICH WORDS weren’t allowed, and confusing me other times when you’re not allowing me to say something I need to say (like “fizzling”).
Other than those two wee things – keep on keeping on, Wizard101. I’m psyched for you!!
ON a SIDE note… why the heck is MapleStory in there? Um, last time I played that game a guild named “Pedophile” was causing rukus through the servers… Kids swear like they’re afraid its going out of style, it’s Ad Mad, and it’s not family appropriate.
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