Social networking sites have long been popular with teens, and now researchers are saying they're becoming increasingly popular with younger kids, too. I don't think anyone's surprised by the findings; though both Facebook and MySpace require users to be at least 13 years old when signing up for accounts.
A researcher quoted in the CNN article says:
"Of course they are [using social networking sites]. They're using them because that's where their social world is. Because there's no effective way to age-verify . . . children very quickly realize, 'I just say I'm 14 years old, and they'll let me use this.' "
Researchers are split on the long-term effects of allowing younger children onto the sites. Some say that early exposure to the sites can lead to Internet addiction in adults; others say that most younger children use the sites in moderation, and in positive ways. The article also quotes parents who have allowed their kids to lie about their age to create profiles, though they also require their kids to surrender their passwords, and monitor the kids' activities and friends. What do you think about age restrictions on these sites?