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Google gives tips to teens on how to safely use social networking service Buzz

April 6, 2010 |  9:08 am

Google has responded to concerns from parents with a YouTube video that offers tips to teens on how to safely use Buzz, the social networking service that launched inside of millions of Gmail accounts.

Buzz Parents were alarmed because their children were unknowingly making themselves vulnerable on the Web by sharing private information publicly on Buzz. 

Google says kids must be 13 years old before they use Gmail or Buzz. But technology analyst Charlene Li could not recall being asked for her child’s age when she signed her up for Gmail.

Turns out Google only recently started doing that.

So the burden remains on parents to get up to speed on Buzz.

In the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the decade-old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The law went into effect in 2000. It requires websites and online service providers to get parental permission before collecting or using personal information from children younger than 13.

The FTC, which reviews the law every five years, is asking a critical question: Should the definition of Internet be expanded to include mobile communications, gaming and interactive television?

This could set the stage for a new battle between online marketers and privacy advocates.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Image: andinarvaez

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