Social network Facebook is only available for users who are 13 and above. But founder Mark Zuckerberg has expressed his wishes to relax this age restriction, arguing that educational benefits will make the site a valuable source for youngsters.
We asked the people of Lincoln if the potential for education outweighs the risks?
Sven Schiltz (27) Lincoln, research student
“I’m not sure; there are dangers in other social networks as well. There’s always the danger of grown-ups pretending to be children. It’s a delicate issue, I think there’s no easy answer for this. They definitely have to have some consent from the parents. It’s very hard to police. I can’t actually see any direct educational benefits.”
Julian Clune (21) Lincoln student
“I think we’re coming into a society where we’re overprotective and it can get a bit silly, but I think with something like [Facebook], because you are so young and being exposed more and more, there is that added concern.
“Technology and children, it’s just second nature now. They’re used to it. But I think it’s hard for the older generations to accept that [children] are growing into it and because it’s second nature they don’t see the problem with it. So I think there’s that dilemma. Education-wise, it could be absolutely fine, and that’s probably all they’ll use it for, as a social device. But at the same time you do have to protect the children.”
Donna Drake (42) Lincoln
“I don’t think [children] should be allowed Facebook. As we know a lot of paedophiles use various routes to groom kids. 13 is quite young for kids to be doing that sort of thing. Kids older than 13 get caught up too. I don’t think there are many educational benefits on sites such as Facebook. I honestly feel it’s more trouble than its worth.”
Morgen Rich (54) Lincoln, College professor
“I would ask [Zuckerberg] how he plans to monitor the age of the users and restrict the areas that children under 13 can go to, for safety reasons. I’m sure it does have educational benefits, but I would want to know if they outweigh the dangers.
“I think Facebook is a great way for people to stay in touch and share information. It’s a social network, to turn it into an educational network would be quite a feat.”
Charlie Miller-Davis (35) Lincoln (centre)
“Everyone had a good education before Facebook. It didn’t do me any harm. [Children] can get up to no good on Facebook. There are people out there who use it, and they don’t know how old you are. I think [users] should be 16. There are people out there trying to make money off kids and parents.”
Ashleigh Miller (15) Lincoln, school student (right)
“If your friends move to another country or if you’re on holiday, it’s quicker to message them and it’s free. Facebook is where you can be who you want.”
Jamie Miller (13) Lincoln, school student (left)
“I like the games.”