Last week was a good week for me. I’m the new king of England, the Twinklevii lost the same lawsuit against me for the fifth time and they don’t get to do guest voices for The Simpsons like I did. I have a principle: If 12-year-old you wouldn’t be impressed by your current life, you haven’t won yet. Twelve-year-old Mark would be very impressed with 27-year-old Mark.
But he wouldn’t be allowed to use Facebook.
In America, it’s currently illegal for kids under 13 to sign up to sites that collect their information. That means the 7.5+-million kids on Facebook are breaking the law. They lied to us about their age. We can either stop collecting their information, which is a good idea until you try to think of anything we could do for you if we couldn’t save your information. Or we can fight to change the law.
As I said this spring, that’s a fight we’re getting ready for.
Consumer Reports found the number of young Facebook users “disturbing.” What’s disturbing is how many parents assumed anything their kids wanted to do online was innocent. Are parents stupid because smart people don’t procreate, or are their brains trying to kill them to make room for the new generation?
By the time I was 12, I was already coding. I made a virtual-pet Yoda. Then I made a button to rapid-switch between that and Netscape so I could hide the 256-color porn when my parents got home.
I’ve said that education needs to start at a really, really young age. That’s not really for the kids’ benefit. It’s so the adults can learn from the kids. Have you ever watched a toddler use an iPad? Not “play with”. Use. It’s the only time I’ve understood what “feeling old” means.
So we’ll get the law overturned in time. But first we’ll let the kids keep signing up with fake birthdates. For one, the boost to the teen demographics works wonders for our ad sales.
More importantly, the best time to start a fight is when you’ve already won. And in another year or two, the idea of a kid without a Facebook account will be so laughable that Congress will do the job for us. Point to enough Senators’ grandkids’ profile pages and we’ll be filibuster-proof.
By the way, good luck getting kids under 13 on Google+. You might as well take them to see Tree of Life.
Photo by James Emery on Flickr