Kids may be allowed on Facebook

(KFVS) - How young is too young to have an online profile?

Currently, federal regulations cap that age at 13 years old, but Facebook is attempting to expand its user base by possibly opening up services to those under 13 years old.

The proposal says kids could have their own Facebook profile connected to their parent's, allowing parental control of the page.

But even with the parental control feature, a lot of parents say they don't like the idea.

"I wouldn't do it," said parent Sarah Coonts.

"I don't think they should, there's just way too much secrecy," said parent Jeromiah Trankle.

Most parents we talked to on Monday said they don't like the idea of allowing kids under the age of 13 to open a Facebook profile, even with parental controls.

"Personally I wouldn't do it, because there's predators out there," said Coonts.

Coonts has two sons under 13. She said she doesn't even post pictures of them on her profile.

"There's predators out there, so it's kind of scary to put anything on Facebook," said Coonts.

Coonts and Trankle said younger kids could have a bull's eye on their profile.

"Malleable minds, impressionable minds, so easy targets," said Trankle.

"I tell them that there's predators out there," said Coonts.

Since the child's Facebook profile would directly connect to the parent's account, parents could control things like friend requests.

"It could help, if they monitor it well," said Coonts.

"I don't know, it's just really hard to monitor that stuff," said Trankle.

Sgt. Brad Burge with the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Malden Police Department said he sees a lot of cons, and no positives to the idea. Burge said allowing kids to have their own profile just opens another door for predators.

Some kids already use Facebook by creating a false profile, with a false age; something predators can do too.

"That's the thing, you could set up a whole profile and make up a person," said Trankle. "It's hard to monitor because they could have one account and open another account, and possible more and be whoever."

Even though Coonts said her kids won't have Facebook before they turn 13, they will reach that age one day.

"If they want one, then maybe yes, but yes, I will definitely monitor it," said Coonts.

Facebook said the idea is just something they're talking about with shareholders, and haven't made any decisions.

Burge suggests finding a class at your local school or community center to learn more about Internet use and cyber crimes. He says that can help you better understand what your child is doing online, and help protect him or her.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.