B.C. group asks Facebook to safeguard kids from online predators

Vancouver Sun - 14/11/2012

A group of prominent British Columbians launched a campaign Wednesday calling on Facebook to introduce security measures to protect underage children from predators who troll the site looking for potential victims.

The announcement came on the same day Facebook unveiled an anti-bullying initiative in partnership with Family Channel, PREVNet, Concerned Children’s Advertisers, Kids Help Phone, MediaSmarts, Free The Children and STOPcyberbullying.org.

The British Columbia group — which includes Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd, the Coquitlam teen who committed suicide last month after enduring years of bullying and harassment online and in real life; children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukian; CKNW host Bill Good; Kip Woodward, the chair of Vancouver Coastal Health; performing artist Bif Naked; anti-bullying advocate and author Shane Koyczan; mommy bloggers and others — called on Facebook in an open letter to take a leading role in making social networks safer for kids.

Sandy Garossino, a community advocate who signed the letter, said the group is asking Facebook to take leadership responsibility.

“We are saying this is the responsibility of the industry,” she said. “The industry designed and engineered these products, they marketed them, they derive income from them in billions of dollars.

Garossino said 200 million among Facebook’s one billion users are youth. The site stipulates users must be at least 13 years of age but it is possible to set up accounts simply by lying about your age.

“These are major corporations, they have massive revenues and they should be putting some of that money into security.”

Source: Vancouver Sun - 14/11/2012