A ten-year-old boy uses an Apple iPad tablet computer on November 29, 2011 in the UK. Facebook is testing out technologies that would allow children 13 and under to use the site.
Credit: Christopher Furlong

A kid-friendly Facebook may be on the horizon, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday

The social network is reportedly working on several options that would allow children 13 years old and younger to use the popular site, including options to link a child's account to their parents', or add controls that allow parents to monitor who their kids "friend" and what apps they download, according to the Journal. 

Children are currently restricted from Facebook in accordance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which bans websites from collecting information from users younger than 13 years old, according to PC Magazine. However, COPPA has not been updated since 1998 — pre-Facebook and smartphones — and some believe the legislation needs to be altered to reflect the habits of the new Internet generation. 

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"It’s not like kids under 13 aren’t already making Facebook accounts; they totally are," Geekosystem's Eric Limer pointed out. "The problem is that they shouldn’t be, which puts Facebook in a weird place when it comes to acknowledging them as an audience and ultimately marketing to them. A kid option for Facebook accounts would let them theoretically legitimize the children on their network, and more importantly, actively encourage kids to join up." 

Facebook acknowledged in a statement how hard it is to enforce COPPA's age restrictions, according to PC Magazine. 

"We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment," a spokesman for Facebook said, PC Mag reported. 

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Though the social network is already unofficially populated by youngsters, some believe that focusing on incorporating kids as active users of the site isn't the best plan for Facebook, which has already faltered in its IPO launch, the biggest public offering for a tech company ever. 

"Instead of trying to build brand awareness among 7- and 8-year olds, they should focus on cleaning up all the troubling issues and deep concerns about privacy on the site already," James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, told the San Francisco Chronicle

What do you think about the idea of a kid-friendly Facebook? Let us know in the comments. 

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