New U-M survey poses question: How old should children be to use the Internet alone?
A recent survey conducted by the University of Michigan shows that most adults think children should be at least 13 before being online alone and support expanding federal laws regarding children’s safety when browsing the Internet, according to results released Monday.
About two-thirds of adults surveyed also said children should be at least 13 years old to be able to use the Internet without supervision, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
However, 29 percent of the parents surveyed with children between the ages of 9 and 12 years old said their children have devices with Wi-Fi enabled, meaning many children could be online and unsupervised.
About 18 percent of those parents also said their children have their own social networking profile. Facebook restricts access to users under the age of 13.
Adults surveyed strongly supported updates to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which was written in 1998 before Facebook and Twitter existed. The Federal Trade Commission is considering updating COPPA.
The U-M poll also found that most adults that were surveyed strongly supported websites requiring users to confirm that they are at least 13 years old, and for cellphone service providers and smartphone application developers to comply with COPPA regulations for children under the age of 13.