| 11°C Dublin

Under 13s now targeted by Facebook

FACEBOOK is planning to let children under 13 years of age use the site, despite worries expressed by parents.

One option being considered would let children join with parental consent. Parents would have a filter which would let them choose who their children could "friend" and the apps they could use.

Bringing younger children onto the site would allow the company to charge parents for games that children sign up for.

At the moment, there is nothing to prevent a child from lying to get on facebook by giving a false date of birth.

As a result, one in five 10- year-olds and more than half of 12-year-olds are on the social networking site.

The move to include children comes after Facebook floated on the US stock exchange.

Now that the company is public it has to find new ways to keep up the 88pc growth it achieved last year from its 900m users. Last month's disastrous stock market flotation saw stock drop by 20pc in value.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook does not plan to set up a separate system for children but wants to sign up younger users to the current version of the network.

The company has started negotiations with identity verifiable consent from parents to let their children use the site.

Christina Warren of technology site Mashable.com says "Facebook wants users on the site as young as possible so as they get older they can become better advertising targets and customers for other services".

Founder Mark Zuckerberg raised a storm of controversy last year when he said he thought the site would be good for under-13s.

A Facebook spokesman said the age rule had been hard to enforce. "We're in continuous dialogue with regulators, stakeholders and policymakers on how best to help parents keep kids safe in an evolving online environment."

Meanwhile, teachers here have been told not to befriend students on Facebook under a new code of conduct.