Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age

The Berkman Center’s peer-reviewed journal, First Monday, has just published the report, “Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age: Unintended Consequences of the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,'” by danah boyd (not a typo, that’s the way she spells it), Eszter Hargittal, Jason Schultz, and John Palfrey. The paper provides survey data showing “that many parents know that their underage children are on Facebook in violation of the site’s restrictions and that they are often complicit in helping their children join the site. [The] data suggest that, by creating a context in which companies choose to restrict access to children, COPPA inadvertently undermines parents’ ability to make choices and protect their children’s data. [The] data have significant implications for policy‚ makers, particularly in light of ongoing discussions surrounding COPPA and other age‚ based privacy laws.”

Their findings “call the efficacy of COPPA into serious question.” The piece is a thoughtful and informative read — please do share it widely among your friends and colleagues.

More as it happens,

Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980's, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early 90's (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.