The Financial Times recently reported that Google might be giving our kids their own accounts. If your kid is younger than 13 and they're using Facebook or Gmail, then you might be surprised to know that they're breaking the rules of both sites.
Why set the age limit for Gmail and Facebook to 13? It makes more sense than you'd think. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act is a law that enforces harsh restrictions on data-collection for anyone under 13 years of age to protect our kids' data from advertisers.
If Google does end up making an account meant for kids, then I'm going to have to see a couple of things before I sign my son up for one:
- What protections will be in place for my son?
- Will I be able to monitor his Internet activity?
- Without the ability to collect as much data on him, how will Google decide which ads he sees?
- What controls and limitations can I set on this account?
While Google's all-access pass for kids to the Internet is just a rumor, it would definitely be a smart move for the company. Kids can watch their favorite cartoons on services like Netflix instead of gluing themselves to the TV. That means that kids aren't watching the toy commercials that tell them what they should be asking for next Christmas.
Advertisers know that. Google lives and dies by its advertisers. You do the math.