Common Sense Media Launches Petition to Stop Facebook from Targeting Very Young Children

Advocacy Group Is Concerned About Impact of Social Networking on Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Development of Children, Encourages Public to Talk Back to Facebook
For immediate release
Thursday, June 7, 2012

San Francisco – Common Sense Media launched a petition today asking for the public to join a campaign to stop Facebook from targeting kids under 13. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is “developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 years old to use the social networking site...” This is in spite of the serious concerns about privacy and the possible impact of social networking on children's social, emotional, and cognitive development. Common Sense Media is encouraging the public to sign the petition at www.change.org/petitions/facebook-stop-plans-to-allow-kids-under-13-on-facebook.

“Parents are already worried about how Facebook impacts our teens' interpersonal relationships, emotional well-being, and reputation,” said James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media and author of Talking Back to Facebook. “Making Facebook available to very young children before we fully understand its impact on their development and well-being would be careless. We encourage parents to talk back to Facebook about their concerns by signing this petition.”

The petition reads: “There is absolutely no proof of any meaningful social or educational value of Facebook for children under 13. Indeed, there are very legitimate concerns about privacy, as well as its impact on children's social, emotional, and cognitive development. By opening the site up to kids younger than 13, Facebook’s strategy appears to be: Hook children early, build the brand, and create customers for life, regardless of the consequences. Parents and educators agree this is a terrible idea: Young children do not need to be on social networks with 1000 friends when they're 7 or 8 years old. Kids this young are still learning to navigate their offline life – learning how to play and engage with others – and don’t need the added complexity of managing an online social profile. What's next, Facebook for toddlers? Learn more at www.talkingbacktofacebook.com and support the bipartisan Markey/Barton Do Not Track Kids bill in Congress: www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/policy-advocacy/policy-priorities/contacting-congress.”

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to: www.commonsense.org.

Press Contacts
Marisa Connolly
mconnolly@commonsense.org
415-553-6703

Julia Plonowski
jplonowski@commonsense.org
415-553-6728