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Google Planning On Child-Friendly Online Accounts

Google is eyeing to create kid-friendly accounts for its Youtube and Gmail sites. Specifically, the tech giant wants to create online services that will cater to children below 13 years old, according to The Information.

Currently, children under 13 are not allowed to create their online accounts due to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Under this law, websites restrict underage kids to protect their personal information from being collected and used for advertising purposes.

Kids under 13 who try to sign up for a Google account will be automatically transferred to another page stating they are below the required age limit.

In 2011, Mark Zuckerberg made headlines after declaring that underage children should be allowed to use Facebook. However, the provisions of COPPA restricted them from doing so.

Google's plan, however, does not necessarily mean kids can create online accounts on their own. To comply with the COPPA, the children still need their parents to create the account, PC Mag reported.

The adults have the power to control the bits of information collected from them and what type of web services the kids are allowed to use. In addition, Google will introduce a dashboard system in order to allow parents to monitor their kids' online activities.  

Of course, many children under 13 years old nowadays already have their own online accounts. This was done by either lying about their age or asking help from their parents. Google wants to implement the new plan so that the creation of accounts for kids will still follow the guidelines of the COPPA.

Despite introducing security features, Google's plan still raised concerns among various online privacy concerns.

For Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy's executive director, Google should first iron out the details of its proposed web service to ensure the online safety of children, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Unless Google does this right it will threaten the privacy of millions of children and deny parents the ability to make meaningful decisions about who can collect information on their kids," he said.

There are no official dates yet as to when Google will launch its kid-friendly web service. 

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