If you’ve been following the age verification within social networking sites issue, it should come as no surprise that Connecticut has proposed legislation requiring
“MySpace and other social networking sites to verify users’ ages and obtain parental consent before minors can post profiles.”
Frankly, I’m in support of anything businesses can do to better protect our children online, including predator identification, parental controls and education. Giving parents choice on what minor children are exposed to through age appropriate verification, truly puts the decisions regarding minor children back in the hands of the parents where it belongs. As Connecticut proposes, getting parental consent prior to allowing a minor post a profile engages parents, and solves the issue of “not being able to verify anyone under 18” that social networks have stated since the whole issue blew up in the media.
What I’d really like to see is more early adopters, like Zoey’s Room and Xologi, incorporate age and identity verification prior to being regulated to do so. As much as I’ve talked about verification being easy, it’s only one piece of a comprehensive solution to protect kids in social networks. Knowing that some members (good and bad) might criticize this endeavor or choose not to participate in an environment where safety rules over anonymity, might be hard to accept. But as the saying goes, doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest.