Father: Why Isn't Facebook Keeping My Kid Off Its Site?

from the parenting-is-for-losers dept

Facebook is a fascinating study in how different countries around the world deal with forward technology and the internet as a whole. It really is something of a Rorschach Test of each nation's legal system and process. We've heard recently how Germany nixed Facebook's "Like" button. UK officials had the brilliant idea that rioters would go back to sipping Earl Grey tea instead of throwing things at other things, if only they weren't on those intoxicating social networking sites. Meanwhile, in America, teachers in Missouri had to sue for the privilege of friending their students (because we might be able to trust these teachers to be in direct contact with our children, but not on the scary internet!).

And now reader Paddy Duke alerts us to the story of a Northern Irishman and his quest to get Facebook to keep his 12 year old daughter off its site. Because, really, who else could possibly accomplish such a feat? He is apparently suing Facebook for negligence.

The issue is that this gentleman's 12 year old daughter didn't tell Facebook she was 12. She said she was older, thereby routing around Facebook's age policy. Then she posted reportedly racy photos of herself along with other personal information, such as her home address and the name of her school. The kicker is that she did at least some of this while in the care of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust facility, which appears to be primarily an institution for children and the elderly who are suffering from mental health issues.

I have two questions. First, if Facebook is negligent in allowing her to use their site, what word should we use for this father also allowing her to use the site and not stopping her unwanted behavior? Supernegligent? Negultragent?

Secondly, what's the solution here? Any age check done by Facebook is going to be porous at best. The linked BBC article has a quote from this Father-Of-The-Year candidate's solicitor (attorney):
"An age check, like asking for a passport number would be a simple measure for Facebook to implement."
If it's so simple, I'd love to see this attorney take a crack at it. Passport numbers wouldn't work for a variety of reasons. First, you're potentially depriving Facebook of a swath of users who don't have passports. I recognize this is probably less of a concern in Europe, but it's still an issue. Also, what's to keep children from swiping their parent's passports to create accounts? This 12 year old girl already routed around her father's attempt to shut down her Facebook page. Do we really think she would have stopped at the "Input Passport Number Here" field, thrown up her hands, and went back to playing with dolls and sugersnaps or whatever her father imagines her doing if only she'd had real parents?

And why should Facebook have to implement such a system, paying the costs for doing so, all so parents don't have to parent? I'm not a father, which I recognize some will use to say that I just don't understand the trials and tribulations of raising children in the internet era. They're wrong. I do understand all that. That's why I'm not a parent. I know I'm not ready for that responsibility just yet. But if I ever do have children, I'll be sure not to take a website to court to cash in on my being asleep at the wheel.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    "in America, teachers in Missouri had to sue for the privelage of friending their students"

    And sue to connect with her own children on Facebook!

     

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    A Dan (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Typo

    "privelage"? I think you meant "privilege".

     

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    Richard Ahlquist, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    Simple

    Because Facebook is not your damn babysitter, take some bloody responsibility.

     

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      Manabi (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:24am

      Re: Simple

      So given that the Striesand effect is quite real, will he sue himself for drawing widespread attention to the fact that children can just lie to get around age checks? Who knows how many children he's endangered by doing so!

       

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 10th, 2011 @ 4:25am

      Re: Simple

      ^^ This.

      And I have three children who all own laptops, so I do understand the trials and tribulations of raising children in the Internet era.

       

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        Paranoia Strikes Deep, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 7:46pm

        Re: Re: Simple

        Apparently you don't, otherwise you would not have bought any of your children laptops. The (one) computer in the house would be in a central location in the home, publicly viewable by the adults/guardians. And with a stringent firewall, hosts file, and hardware router installed to put a permanent blockade on sites like Facebook and the unscrupulous proxies that allow for circumvention of common-sense protective modalities.

        I have one. It actually blocks the entirety of the Google-verse, Blogger and YouTube included. Not gonna find that anywhere but at the highest levels of government in the country all these IT devices was probably manufactured in.

        If I were a parent I wouldn't allow any of my children to associate with kids who have their own computers in their bedrooms, or portable laptops they can take anywhere. I'd make sure to instill such fear of the Internet, TV, cell phones and the like, that they'd type all their homework on an Olivetti and talk on a land line. Jersey Shore would be nothing more than part of the geographic coastline of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

        But then again, I'm not a parent. @Rose, parenting FAIL.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    I'll be sure not to take a website to court to cash in on my being asleep at the wheel.

    Better sue that car maker. They could have added a "poke driver awake" feature to prevent all those people from falling asleep at the wheel.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:22am

    A wonderful two sided problem.

    Clearly the parent needs to step up and make it as hard as possible for his child to use Facebook.

    At the same time, it is clear. In the "real world", where we have age limits on all sorts of things, businesses are routinely fined and punished for not enforcing age limits. I think a bar or nightclub is a very good example.

    There is enough responsbility to go around. Facebook having a system in place that is simple to bypass is pretty much like a bar doorman being presented an ID with the kids picture taped on the front, and accepting it as valid. The theoretical minimum requirement was reached (asked for ID, or asked for age) but really it didn't do anything.

    There are two parts here, and both should bear at least some responsiblity. Oh, unless of course Facebook should have some sort of "safe harbour" protection for failing to be a little more proactive.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:25am

      Re:

      The father should go to jail he clearly failed to stop his own child to expose herself to everyone else in the world.

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:28am

      Re:

      "At the same time, it is clear. In the "real world", where we have age limits on all sorts of things, businesses are routinely fined and punished for not enforcing age limits. I think a bar or nightclub is a very good example."

      Er, no, that's actually an awful example, because those fines are handed out not for allowing violation of an internal policy, but for breaking a law or municipal code. That didn't exist here.

      "Facebook having a system in place that is simple to bypass is pretty much like a bar doorman being presented an ID with the kids picture taped on the front, and accepting it as valid."

      If there were a law in place in Northern Ireland, you'd have a point. Sadly....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:45am

        Re: Re:

        Umm, you need to understand the law (at least in the US) regarding children under 13 signing up for websites.

        In Ireland, they have similar laws.

        Targeting children and collecting their information is generally against the law, and may violate EU privacy standards.

         

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          Spaceboy (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Which is why they ask for your age when you sign up.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Can you imagine showing up at a bar, and the doorman goes "how old are you" and your 12 year old kids says "21" and they get let in?

            There is an issue of responsiblity here, and enough blame to go around for all the players.

             

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              CD (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Is this a blind doorman checking for ID?? I can seriously imagine it never happening with a 12 year old.

              Then again, that is a bad analogy, you get underage people circumventing that check with fake identification....and THEY are visually checked by a human being.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I'm going to sue the broadcast networks for not guaranteeing that my kids aren't watching TV-MA programs. Also, when they are in high school, I'm going to sue the liquor industry for not making sure they aren't swiping beers out of my fridge.

              And since they may be getting on facebook *not* in the home, then we better start suing starbucks or the local library or my kids friends parents for not making sure that its wifi doesnt have an age limit verifications.

              Pretty soon I can send my kids to college for free and retire too.

               

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              HothMonster, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              lord knows i never drank alcohol until i was 21.

               

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              The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Here, I'll make it easier to understand why online age verification isn't practical.

              It isn't possible.

              If something isn't possible, it can't be practical. Clear enough?

               

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              Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 10th, 2011 @ 4:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Can you imagine a child showing up on a website and getting drunk?

              There is an issue of harm here, and there isn't enough to implement a similar ID system for Facebook.

               

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          Manabi (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Apparently you need to understand the law in the US on this. Facebook is fully COPPA compliant. Asking for age and refusing access if the person is under 13 is fine according to the law. If the person registering lies, this is not the website's fault (again, according to the law). Now if the website gains knowledge that the user is under 13 then the law requires them to delete the account and all data collected from that account. But that's IT. The rest involves how to handle users under 13, and the requirements are so onerous that most sites simply won't deal with them, thus the near universal 13+ age requirement.

           

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          Paranoia Strikes Deep, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 7:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, the law says that users must be 13 and have parental permission to sign up. The sickening fact is that not only are a lot of parents giving carte blanche to their kids of all ages to have online accounts "because it's a valuable skill in this day and age," but some are even signing up profiles PRENATALLY.

          That's right, the profile picture is the damn ultrasound, and the date of birth is the due date. Changed, of course, when the "baby" (a term I'll use for simplicity since I oppose "personhood" on all counts) is actually born.

          Personally, I'm not a parent either. I actually have no intents ever of becoming one. I don't use Facebook or any social network sites. But I know of people who do, and who have profiles themselves along with their kids, which strikes me as a failure to parent and to teach kids that Facebook, etc. are rife with nothing but smut and garbage and nothing of redeeming value. That and they flagrantly and infamously violate user privacy in that they sell your "interests" to spamvertising co's, which is how they make their money.

          What I personally would like to see is an across-the-board block of all these sites -- Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, even Google -- as unscrupulous cartels, at the ISP level. Not a "censor" myself, but blocking the Trojan horse before it even leaves the starting gate would put these companies out of business faster than you could tweet your ABCs.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:35am

      Re:

      "At the same time, it is clear. In the "real world", where we have age limits on all sorts of things, businesses are routinely fined and punished for not enforcing age limits. I think a bar or nightclub is a very good example.

      There is enough responsbility to go around. Facebook having a system in place that is simple to bypass is pretty much like a bar doorman being presented an ID with the kids picture taped on the front, and accepting it as valid. The theoretical minimum requirement was reached (asked for ID, or asked for age) but really it didn't do anything."

      Here's the problem: you can't really truly prove your age without some sort of properly autheticated document or some sort of number that can uniquely identify you.

      People registering on Facebook would have to provide that document/number to prove their age, and then Facebook would have to have access to a government database that contained private information on individuals to determine if the given identification number/document is valid and if the bearer is of an appropriate age.

      Do you want to give facebook (or anyone else) that kind of power? Note that this wouldn't solve anything either, because little miscreants could still use their parents id number/document to create an account.

      Are there better alternatives?

       

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        Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re:

        "...you can't really truly prove your age without some sort of properly autheticated document..."

        Like Obama's birth certificate which, being a properly authenticated document, has proven Obama's citizenship so far beyond a doubt that it has shut up the birthers.

        Sorry for the sarcasm -- which wasn't aimed at you, by the way. I just used your remark as an excuse to take an aside potshot. But my real point is that if you accept such a document, you're trusting the document. And the fact is that such documents can be forged, and not everybody is an expert in spotting forged documents, and not everybody knows all the details of the origins of every document, and even if the document is legitimate then you're trusting the word of every person who authenticated it. Ultimately all the document proves is that the document agrees with who you say you are, and at most that the government agrees.

        "...or some sort of number that can uniquely identify you."

        I'd make some remark here about arm tattoos but I'd seriously risk invoking Godwin's Law.

        "Note that this wouldn't solve anything either, because little miscreants could still use their parents id number/document to create an account."

        Exactly the point I would have made.

        Facebook would have to personally identify and verify every applicant. Period. A trusted database (which so far our government has proven incompetent at creating or maintaining) would be useless without personal verification.

         

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      Cowardly Anon, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      Bars and strip clubs have controlled substances that are prohibited to children under a specific age.

      Facebook has a way to communicate with your friends and the greater world at large, a crappy chat system, a crappy news feed, Farmville, Cityville, Villeville, and Mafia Wars. None of theses are controlled substances.

      The whole reason Facebook has an age requirement is b/c of some SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN fear mongering law about allowing kids on the interwebs.

      Also, I'd like to point out that underage kids have been getting into bars and strip clubs, buying alcohol and drugs, and generally doing what the shouldn't be doing long before the internet.

      Stop assuming that whatever super secure process is put in place won't be gotten around by kids. It's insulting to the kids.

       

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        Manabi (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:36am

        Re: Re:

        Some people might argue that Farmville, Cityville, etc. should be a controlled substance. ;)

         

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          Cowardly Anon, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think I might be one of them. Only instead of only people over 18/19/21, it should be NO ONE should play them. :)

           

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          Paranoia Strikes Deep, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 7:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Cognitive neuroscientists are already doing studies on the post-Web 2.0 brain and how levels of dopamine increase to "intoxicated" levels when getting a "high" off social networking.

          Just like gambling, sex, or any other "vice," social networking and the Internet in general have the potential to be psychologically addictive. Unfortunately, a war on social networks will probably be just as fruitful as our war on drugs, prohibition, and the Hays Code (the war on sex). Problem is, the same authorities that are supposed to "crack" (pun intended) down on these mega-thugs (Zuckerberg being the nerds' version of Pablo Escobar and Al Capone), and the vices they distribute, are guaranteed to be using it themselves for equally unscrupulous purposes.

          Facebook gets people addicted to FarmVille and makes billions off selling its users' information to ad co's. The government banks on people's addiction to Facebook and the ubiquity of the Internet and uses it to spy on people. Protects the ad co's and Facebook because they are providing a much desired "addictive substance" to the Federales: an abundance of user information.

          No different from thugs getting people strung out on meth and the "authorities" using it to make Ritalin and subdue millions of "rebellious" fifth graders. Or corrupt Chi-Town politicians ca. 1925 profiteering via deals with the rum runners.

          IMHO protecting people from Facebook is no different from protecting people from cocaine. Why this kid was even allowed to use a computer at the group home she was living at deserves a rightful investigation into the practices of this facility.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      I'm sure everyone would be comfortable entering their SSN's into Facebook, allowing Facebook to interface with some Federal database to cross reference it.

      This would of course be followed up with a physical mail to the person's house where they can verify they actually put in their own SSN and not some strangers by submitting a fingerprint and spit vial for DNA testing.

      Facebook would, of course, keep all this information secure and only use it to enhance your Farmville experience.

       

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      Bengie, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      If Facebook wants to allow anonymous people to sign up, how do you do age checks then?

      All they can do is blindly accept whatever the user enter.

      Just like an adult is responsible for whatever they post on FB, a parent is 100% responsible for whatever their child posts on FB.

      If the parent wants to blame someone, they must first blame themselves, because they are 100% responsible for their child. In order for someone to take responsibility for another child, they must first become a guardian. Better sign your kids over to FB before you blame FB.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      I think a bar or nightclub is a very good example.

      This type of thinking is such a pernicious problem in the digital age; people who are unable to comprehend the differences between digital and "real world" services.

      A bar or nightclub is a terrible example and really indicates that you didn't take more than 5 seconds to consider your analogy. First, unless the bar or nightclub is being run inside your house the child actually has to travel there which means most 12 year old children don't have access to a bar or nightclub. Second, those places are filled with human beings who are capable of making judgement calls which are far more complex than anything a computer can handle.

      I'd love to go on but it hardly seems worth it. Stop using crappy analogies, they make it too easy to gloss over the real problems which online services face in identifying people or copyrighted content or any other "illegal" behavior.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

      Re: [Comment #5]

      And how to you suppose Facebook go about making sure people are as old as they say they are? Should they have access to a dynamic database containing everyone (in the world's no doubt) ID number that's over the age of 13? What about countries that have other laws making that age different? What about places that don't have such information? What about Facebook pages for people who don't actually exist or are stage names? Those are just some of the theoretical problems to that plan.

      As for practical problems, each ID would have to be stored in Unicode because god forbid someone doesn't use Arabic numerals or has letters and numbers. UTF-8 uses up to 4 bytes per character, and at least a single byte for ASCII characters. Let's assume each ID is 16 characters long (this is probably a low guess, my drivers license uses 18), which cranks us up to 16-64 bytes per ID. We'll assume about 1 billion (probably 1/5 of what's true) people in the world have some kind of ID. So now we're at 16-64 billion bytes, or ~16-64 GB. This is a theoretical low end of the side requirements of a simple database on low assumptions. 16-64 GB isn't a small amount of data to search through, even with optimized searching the bandwidth would be through the roof and the service would probably be pretty slow. Also keeping said database constantly up to date wouldn't be practical at best.

      Checking a physical ID is easy in real life, because it's hard to fake. It's ungodly easy to fake who you are online, and an "Internet ID" would be as easily faked as they come.

      Now if you have a plan that doesn't involve being A) easy to fake and B) impractical at best, feel free to offer up a solution.

       

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        DCL, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 6:34pm

        Re: Re: [Comment #5]

        If physical ids are so hard to fake why are many states continuously updating their Drivers Licenses (at least California does)?

        Why are there so many security features in new passport?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: [Comment #5]

          Fine, let me rephrase.

          Physical IDs are significantly harder to fake than a computer ID. The only protection you could give to a computer ID is by quite literally forcing someone to go into a government run office like the DMV (or foreign equivalent) and have them set one up there with PGP (which still isn't perfect). But that would be utterly worthless unless every single country in the world did the same. You can bet your house and every other asset that the online population of a country that didn't waste their money on that would skyrocket in months at most. And even if you got every country to agree to it, it would still have gaping backdoors.

          A virtual ID system costs significantly more than any supposed value it might have. Yea, it might stop the .1% of 12 year olds from Ireland from joining Facebook and putting up racy images of themselves, but it would cost millions at least in taxes just to get a halfway working system in place.

          Unless your IP has to match the country of your online ID, but then travelers would have to get an online Visa. Guess that's another couple million going to stopping the fringe minority from doing something they shouldn't.

          Feel free to let your government waste more money and take away your privacy on what's basically a fringe non-issue, but there are better things that money can go to, like educating future generations. Or science and arts. You know, things that actually matter.

           

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      Ben (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

      Re:

      Maybe her facebook profile used the surname McLovin?

       

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      PaulT (profile), Sep 9th, 2011 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      OK, so which age verification system, valid in all countries and not easily bypassable, would you recommend? Bear in mind that, as suggested in the article, she would easily be able to use someone's else's ID as, unlike your doorman example, the person is not physically present to check against the ID.

      If you don't have a suggestion, perhaps refrain from attacking Facebook for not implementing something you can't even think of.

       

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 10th, 2011 @ 4:27am

      Re:

      At the same time, it is clear. In the "real world", where we have age limits on all sorts of things, businesses are routinely fined and punished for not enforcing age limits.

      No. In the 'real world', where we have age limits on all sorts of things that are physically dangerous for children, business are routinely fined and punished for not taking reasonable steps to enforce age limits.

      FTFY

       

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    Aaron Crowder, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:22am

    C'mon dad, it's THAT hard to block access to a domain? Any good wireless router these days can blacklist domains, including proxies.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:32am

      Re: Cock Blocker

      If "daddy" blocks facebook via the router, he won't be able to stalk that one slutty girl down the block on facebook.

      Also, if he does block facebook via the router his daughter will spend 5 minutes of Googling ending up on the word "proxy" and the blockage will be just another useless internet speedbump.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:37am

        Re: Re: Cock Blocker

        There are other, more effective ways to block Facebook, but I'd say the easiest would probably be to teach your 12 year old daughter that sharing her personal information online is a bad idea.

         

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          Cowardly Anon, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Cock Blocker

          Woah, wait.....teaching? Does that mean, like actually interacting with your children?! That sounds like something teachers should be doing. That's what they are paid for!

           

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            The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cock Blocker

            Teachers are too busy being banned from interacting with your children online to have any time left to interact with your children online.

             

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          btr1701 (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cock Blocker

          > There are other, more effective ways to block
          > Facebook, but I'd say the easiest would probably
          > be to teach your 12 year old daughter that
          > sharing her personal information online is a
          > bad idea.

          Or take away her cell phone and toss the computer out the window.

           

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 10th, 2011 @ 4:32am

        Re: Re: Cock Blocker

        I regularly discuss online privacy with my children, along with frequently monitoring the Internet usage of my older two children. We have had zero problems so far (not even a virus), despite their underage Facebook profiles. (They use it to communicate with their relatives and their equally underaged friends.)

         

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      Danny (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      Tim and you all are coming down way too hard on the father. He IS trying to keep his daughter off the Facebook. Nowhere in this report does it suggest he is taking no other actions and punting responsibility to Facebook. What he seems to be doing here--my read of this--is engage Facebook as part of his own Campaign of action.

      Blocking domain, restricting computer access, etc. Only works when she is at home. It doesn't stop her at friends houses and other locations. Granted she is only twelve, but his ability to constantly look over he r shoulder is limited and will grow less as she ages.

       

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        Almost Anonymous (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re:

        Ok Danny, I'll bite:

        You are Facebook. How would you go about making people at then end of hundreds of miles of copper cable and fiber optic lines prove that they are the age that they say they are? Pr0n sites used to make you enter a valid credit card number as "proof", but they don't even do that anymore, just a click through "I am 18 or older." So how will you enforce proof of age?

        The point is that Facebook has no feasible way to do this, just as they have no feasible way to "know" whether or not a person is using their real name or a fake one. So blaming or suing Facebook for not doing what they cannot do is kind of stupid, yes?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re:

        He IS trying to keep his daughter off the Facebook

        Ahh, I see you've discovered why he isn't doing a very good job parenting.

        Trying to keep your kid off of facebook will never be as effective as teaching your child about privacy, right and wrong, acceptable vs. unacceptable behavior. More importantly he has had 12 years to instill values, morals, and ethics into the child ... if that didn't do then I guess you could always chalk it up to a "bad seed" but either way I don't see how that is a problem for Facebook.

         

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        Manabi (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re:

        And Facebook is supposed to know it's her creating a new account from a friend's house using an overseas proxy so it appears to be coming from another country how exactly? Magic pixies?

        Sometimes you simply can't keep kids from doing things you don't want them to do. Even if it's something they really shouldn't be doing. Even if it's illegal. That's life. It sucks for the parent (and ultimately for the kid when they get hit with the inevitable consequences), but some things simply can't be prevented. This seems to be one of them. She wants to get on Facebook so bad that she'll find a way. Maybe he should have her put in jail instead, that would solve the problem handily as long as they don't have Internet access there.

         

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        PaulT (profile), Sep 9th, 2011 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        "What he seems to be doing here--my read of this--is engage Facebook as part of his own Campaign of action."

        Bullshit. He's suing a billionaire target because he can't effectively police his own equipment.

        "Only works when she is at home. It doesn't stop her at friends houses and other locations."

        As the father of a soon-to-be teenager, he's going to learn the hard way that this applies to everything else she does as well. Sadly, he won't have a rich company to sue when she starts screwing her boyfriend or taking pills down the park, though.

         

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Taking responsibility

    It seems that these days too many people don't want to take responsibility for their actions, kids, etc, but would rather place the blame for their failures on others, such as Facebook in this case. I just wish there was a cosmic "dope slap" that could be applied to boneheads like this fellow... :rolleyes:

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Those people along with the MAFIAA goons should go tot the Angry Birds Themed park in China.

    http://www.cnngo.com/shanghai/play/chinese-gamers-playing-real-life-%E2%80%98angry-birds%E 2%80%99-733133

     

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    JackHerer (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Facebook's 13 and over policy is because of US law. There is nothing in UK law to say that a 12 year old can't set up a Facebook page, so as far as the UK is concerned the 13 and over policy just a Facebook policy that it has no legal obligation to enforce.

     

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    ethorad (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    passport data

    On the proposal to use passport numbers to prove your age - is he really suggesting giving private companies access to the government's passport database? And in fact giving private companies access to *every* government's passport database?

    I think the real problem is going to be when he realises his darling daughter is drinking and smoking by the time she's 14.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Here's the answer. Create implanted ID cards with every single detail on it. Then have the kids scan and the filters kick in. Wait... we don't want to be policed do we? Oh darn.

     

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      identicon
      Cowardly Anon, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      Not by the government, no. But private businesses seem to be ok.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:29pm

        Re: Re:

        How else will the future fit so perfectly into the cyberpunk genre if private megacorporations don't control our lives though? I wanna wear cool dark clothes and be a badass hacker like in the movies and books!

         

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    marrai, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:40am

    Asking for ID

    Asking for an ID is a not so great idea - at least here in Germany people (ok, politicians) are really concerned with privacy regarding Facebook, Google and the like. While handing over an ID number certainly won't fix the age problem, it creates another - privacy related - one.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    "An age check, like asking for a passport number would be a simple measure for Facebook to implement."


    My daughter is 5. She has had a passport for 4 1/2 years. Her passport number doesn't include her age or date of birth, and there is absolutely no way for someone to get that information from a passport number.

    In addition it would be *ILLEGAL* for anyone in my country to give their passport number to Facebook. http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/3930-canadians-sl-integrity-cannot-verify.htm l

     

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    identicon
    heby, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    Facebook is a bad and evil monopoly. Its somewhat good that Google Plus has come up. Though big G is also evil.

    The Facebook monopoly is killing the net as well as the free minded us, as we are forced to see FB buttons or FB comment system on a multitude of site without any prior option given to us whether we want to see it or not. Shocking "slave" mentality that many sites have! and now they enslaven themselves to FB thinking they get crowd but never thinking the crowd they are repelling because of this.

    Facebook should face antitrust and like minded people can write to epic dot org

    To stop 12 years old or for that matter anyone from displaying data they should actually stop collecting and/or displaying address, choices etc

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      Well, you're just a special kind of crazy, aren't you?

       

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      identicon
      Cowardly Anon, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      While I agree with Dark Hamlet's assessment of your mental status, I'm going to just chime in here and comment that Facebook doesn't require that you give that info. It also doesn't require that you broadcast it across the interwebs for all to see.

      I'm not even search-able on Facebook. I do not accept friend requests from random people. My pictures are all locked down. My status are only seen by a subset of the people on my friends list (I don't care to share everything even with my facebook friends).

      You can lock Facebook down, but it's up to you to do it.

      Also, the fact that Google+ came along and people were able to jump ship on Facebook shows that there isn't an antitrust issue. Just sayin' mate.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Sep 9th, 2011 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      "Facebook is a bad and evil monopoly."

      You might want to look up the word "monopoly" in the dictionary. You clearly don't know what it means.

      "To stop 12 years old or for that matter anyone from displaying data they should actually stop collecting and/or displaying address, choices etc"

      Are you saying they should stop displaying the information given to them by users for the express purpose of display, or that they should magically know if someone is 12?

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    I see this father like the normal individual inside western culture they all want others to be responsible for their problems and that ends up reflecting in politics and commerce like the MAFIAA wanting everybody else to be responsible for their problems except themselves.

    Maybe that is why China, Brazil, India and others are growing in influence in Africa and other corners of the world, because to do business with Americans is painful and Europeans are not that much different they all want to impose something on other and make them "responsible" for something.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/BUSINESS/09/08/america.losing.influence.africa/index.html

     

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    identicon
    Pete Austin, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Google Image Search for: Passport Number

    It returns a lot of pictures of passports, some with visible numbers.
    http://bit.ly/o4tCGJ

     

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    Vic, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Fun... On one of blog sites I have recently read complaints about Facebook blocking somebody's account because the last name did not look right. The person admitted that she just used some gibberish for the last name, but was really perplexed with Facebook's request to scan and send them her passport page with a picture and a name in order to reinstate the account.

     

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    Ben (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:14am

    parenting

    I'm not a father ... I just don't understand the trials and tribulations of raising children in the internet era
    Actually, I don't think being a parent is required to understand the troubles of raising a child in the internet era. Certainly being a parent doesn't make me understand the trials in tribulations of raising children (in general) -- the only examples I have are my own, and I've imagined far worse than I've experienced (so far!). Just because someone is a parent does not mean they understand anything: it just means they have responsibility.

     

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    identicon
    heby, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:15am

    @ Dark Helmet - not sure if you told me. If not, I am sorry.
    If you did tell me, like to say you that, that is what not just me but millions feel. If you have been a net user from the 90s you will feel how net is a monopoly of a few walled gardens like Google, Apple, Facebook compared to what internet truly was - an inter connected net of multitude of sites. Its sad that Myspace Bebo Orkut etc sort of died. What I mean is we do not need just one Facebook but at least 5 or 10 others, just like in browsers you have IE, FF, Chrome, Opera etc. 1 FB ruling all is bad. It is more bad when I have to see it on ALL sites even techdirt.

    Imagine, Apple putting MS buttons or logos or icons on its site. Will they? Or will I expect it ? No - when I visit Apple I mean and expect not to see MS

    Similarly when I visit Techdirt, (it may not be as big as Apple but can be as free and independent minded) I do not expect to see FB icons. Or even if I do, I expect there will be a prior choice rather than it being forced upon my eyes. Did you see the plenty of legal cases against FB at epic org.? Sooner or later this evil monopoly issue is going to come up.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Actually, shouldn't Facebook be suing the father since he's responsible for his daughter violating their terms and conditions of use?

     

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    farooge (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    What?

    If he really wants to pretend his kid doesn't live in the same world we do then keeping her off myFacebookSpace (or whatever) is easy if you use my patented process

    Me (or properly licensed parent): "I don't like that, please stop going there."

    Child: (crickets)

    Me (or properly licensed parent): "I told you last week, no myFaceBookSpace and I wasn't kidding: STOP NOW"

    Child: (crickets)

    Me (or properly licensed parent): "I told you no myFaceBookPage and you ignored me - you've earned yourself a spanking"

    Child: suddenly begins listening (or at least hiding it better)

    I'll even give him a free license to use my method if he asks nicely and kisses my pinky ring.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    For what it's worth

    I'm the father of a 15-year-old autistic child and I agree with your position.

     

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      identicon
      Paranoia Strikes Deep, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 7:23pm

      Re: For what it's worth

      1) That thread title is actually the name of the song referenced in my username.

      2) He's 15 and autistic? In two years he'll have an equally antisocial Internet startup. You'll be a billionaire and he can buy all the Star Wars crap he'd ever want for life.

      Also: farooge's patented process above is a "sure-fire" treatment for autism. Smith & Wesson already patented permanent "magic bullet" cure, though.

       

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    identicon
    Kerri, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    The father is at blame in this situation. He should be arrested for ALLOWING his child to distribute child pornography. That's exactly what she did. I may not be a parent but I know how teenagers think because I am one. He should also be charged for child neglection. He just wants to blame Facebook because he knows he is at fault.

     

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      identicon
      Paranoia Strikes Deep, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 7:30pm

      Re:

      "I know how teenagers think because I am one"

      Riiiight... Either a teenager or a FB shill, or both. No wonder you're defending Facebook. Otherwise where would you get all your Bieber pr0n and Jersey Shore fan f(r)iction?

      Trollf@g, you've just messed with a warlock. Go home and baww incoherently into your Zack Efron diary and cry for your emo Lady Gaga bullying laws. I'm with the anti-FB crowd and this British dude here. Also, "neglection" is not even a word. Maybe Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging should be blamed for debasing the quality of the English language, "amirite"?

       

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    Frederick Lane (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    A ridiculous lawsuit

    This is a ridiculous story and an even dumber lawsuit. It is an effort to completely abdicate parental responsibility and sends a terrible message to the child involved. Whatever she does wrong is not her fault, but the fault of the corporation that "let her" do it. Seen from that angle, there are a host of potential defendants: the camera or cellphone company, the computer manufacturer, the telecommunications provider, the ISP, even the clothing and makeup manufacturers. I'm an attorney myself, and I have to say that this type of lawsuit makes tort reform look like a better idea.

    Please check out the release I sent out on this story for my new book, Cybertraps for the Young: http://www.cybertrapsfortheyoung.com/Press-Releases/2011-09-08-press-release-who-is-responsible-for- preventing-sexting-on-facebook.html

     

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    identicon
    Not in my house, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Facebook should face the burden of making sure that they enforce their own arbitrary age restriction. The US has laws regarding privacy for residents under 13 - that's why they have the policy.

    ANY child can create a fake account at any place. Why is the father at fault because she MAY have created it at his house?

    I do agree with @The Mighty Buzzard, though. Age checks aren't practical - but they will present an extra burden of proof and release of liability for Facebook.

     

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      identicon
      HothMonster, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      "enforce their own arbitrary age restriction"

      its not arbitrary, as you say in the next sentence it conforms to US law. They enforce it as well as it is feasible to


      "Age checks aren't practical - but they will present an extra burden of proof and release of liability for Facebook."

      why are the age checks currently in place not enough? "We all agree that no age check will be foolproof, or even slightly effective, but lets at least make sure its a big a pain in the ass as possible for everybody. I vote blood samples."

       

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      JackHerer (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      Erm the father is responsible because she is his daughter, i think that is how parenthood works...

       

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        identicon
        Paranoia Strikes Deep, Jan 30th, 2012 @ 7:33pm

        Re: Re:

        No, this is how parenthood works. When a 13-year-old on the cusp of puberty and a 45-year-old World of Warcraft nerd meet on Facebook, they get together and...

        EWWWWWWWW. EPIC ILLEGAL.

        Mark Zuckerberg's fame-whore mother should be blamed for "parenting" (that is, birthing) Mark Zuckerberg. THAT is how parenthood should work.

         

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      PaulT (profile), Sep 9th, 2011 @ 8:55am

      Re:

      "Facebook should face the burden of making sure that they enforce their own arbitrary age restriction."

      1. You admit in your very next sentence that it's not arbitrary.

      2. Please, tell us which method they should be using. Everything suggested thus far is easily bypassable due to the nature of the internet.

      "Why is the father at fault because she MAY have created it at his house?"

      Parenting requires responsibility. If he hasn't learned that by now, he's in for a shock when she hits puberty (especially if she's already posting provocative images on the internet as suggested in the article).

       

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    Atkray (profile), Sep 8th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Not that I condone the actions but in today's litigious lottery world I can absolutely see why the guy brought the suit.

    Now if only the judge would just tell him NO! then turn to his attorney and tell him if he ever shows up in court again with a suit like that he will be disbarred.

    The real problem is judges that allow crap like this in the courtroom.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

    I am glad it is easy to get around the Age check... otherwise how would an adult like me get to talk with all those kiddies?


    ewwwww I just creeped myself out... I am going to go take a shower now.

     

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    johnlee (profile), Jun 5th, 2012 @ 10:31pm

    facebook quotes

    That's wright, i agree with the suggestion of that father,that kids should away form Facebook as a result for goods of their study,find this one to get facebook quotes || Fathers Day Facebook Status

     

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    identicon
    SuperPinkSox, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 11:56pm

    It isn't easy...

    my BIPOLAR 14yr old daughter has had NUMEROUS Facebook accounts...we shut her down, she starts a new one at a friends or even school! Found out recently that her highschool not only allows Facebook, but that the kids aren't supervised at all! She had talked to MANY strangers on Facebook (a few from other countries) about things such as drugs, alcohol and sex, all trying to sound grown up! It isn't eady to keep them off of Facebook, all you can do as a parent in talk to them, give them s**t, deactiviate the account, close the email account and hope for the best! We have even taken her Blackberry away, so she uses either a friends computer or phone or the school's computer! In order to stop her we have to keep her home 24/7 like a prisoner! Not good!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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