New Zealand: New Zealand kids, as young as eight, are creating accounts on social media sites like Facebook by using a second date of birth that puts them above the services' age restrictions, an internet safety expert has said.

Internet safety and risk assessment consultant John Parsons said he had recently spoken to a number of young pupils at schools in the city of Nelson, and what he had heard had shocked him.

In a survey of 100 children aged 8, 9 and 10, 66 had admitted to having a Facebook account, with an average of 320 friends.

According to a website, Parsons said parents were raising a generation of children with two dates of birth.
"They had their real one 'when they get presents', and another that they created to gain entry to social networks like Facebook, which requires users to be 13 and over," Parsons said.

Often their stated date of birth on such networks gave them an age in their 20s, he added. Parsons said allowing children to lie their way into social networks did not send the right message, and was akin to teenagers using a fake ID to enter a local bar.

"What's the defence if they are doing it at this age? By allowing them to fake such details, it was teaching children that it was OK to manipulate their identity," the report quoted him, as saying.

(Agencies)

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