By Matt Levinson
Online social giants YouTube and Facebook have taken big steps to attempt to provide guidance on digital citizenship for kids online. Google (which owns YouTube) just launched its ten-step online program for smart and safe YouTube use, with a series of instructional videos that hit on topics from cyberbullying to privacy. And Facebook has teamed up with Edutopia to help schools create social media guidelines.
As schools figure out their social media policies, Facebook is reportedly exploring allowing children under the age of 13 to use the site. “Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services. We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policy makers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment” a Facebook statement says.
In the meantime, companies are sprouting up to quell (or stoke, depending on perspective) parent fears. From FBI Child ID, which “stores a photo of your child, along with a detailed description that might help others find him or her,” to Footprints, which is a location-sharing app to “help parents track their children’s movements,” parents are searching for solutions to “ease their fears,” according to a recent New York Times article.