November 25, 2011 4:37 AM GMT
I think we need more debate in the industry about protecting children online, particularly in light of growing use of mobiles.
Amid the usual stories of some four year old running up a massive bill playing games on their parent's smartphone, there are a few serious points being made.
First, location services. Great from a revenue perspective, and - apparently - also of great use to paedophiles in tracking the location of kids using social networks.
Those networks, in themselves, pose some problems. We've likely all seen publicity about Facebook wanting to lower its age range below the current minimum of 13 years. Anecdotal evidence suggests it might as well, with children simply lying about their age to access the site, and many under-13 sports and social clubs communicating with their members solely through social network sites (updates to fixtures, results news and the like). That means under-13s are effectively forced to use the sites, but without the safety procedures an official 'lower age' might bring.