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Mark Zuckerberg wants your kids on Facebook

Right now, children under the age of 13 are not allowed to have Facebook accounts.


Judging by the profile pictures, there are plenty of dogs, cats and preschoolers on Facebook.

Presumably, none are doing any actual typing (although there's no doubt a YouTube video showing paws at a keyboard somewhere). But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks kids under the age of 13 should be allowed to broadcast the minutiae of their lives just like everyone else, CNN reports.

Right now, Facebook's policy dictates that users must be at least 13 to sign up. The age restriction complies with the U.S. Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits social-networking sites from signing up kids under that age without a parental approval process.

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But at a recent education summit in Burlingame, Calif., Mr. Zuckerberg told a reporter he's determined to challenge the act.

"That will be a fight we take on at some point," he said.

Facebook currently closes the accounts of 20,000 underage users each day, the Telegraph reports.

An estimated 7.5 million kids under 13 have Facebook accounts, according to Consumer Reports.In the past year alone, one million children were exposed to online bullying through Facebook, The Globe and Mail reported.

Nevertheless, Mr. Zuckerberg, 27, insists that technology is crucial for kids' learning. "My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age."

The billionaire wunderkind didn't elaborate on how Facebook would protect kids from threats such as online predators - let alone save them from embarrassing themselves by posting updates like "I just farted in art class."

"We'd take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids]are safe," he said.

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The world over, millions of under-13s are hitting "like."

Is Mark Zuckerberg right? Is Facebook a necessary part of growing up these days?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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