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Should Google Target Younger Audiences?
Posted on August 21st 2014
Ask yourself this question: how young were you when you first started to use the Internet? I believe was around 7 or 8 years old when my parents allowed me to log onto America Online. To say that it was an archaic system would be an understatement, since it didn’t bode well for phone calls. In any event, we have been introduced to the online world at different periods in our lives and it wouldn't be out of the question to state that children are being introduced to it at younger ages today.
Reportedly, Google is looking to target younger audiences, as far as account privileges are concerned. Basically, the company in question might lower age requirements for those who would like to sign up for YouTube and Gmail. At the time of this writing, Google only allows children as young as 13 years old to sign up. However, with certain workarounds that even those who aren't the most Internet-savvy can get around, those who are a few years younger than 13 could theoretically sign up.
It's not like social networks are unanimously against the idea of younger audiences becoming involved on their websites. For example, back in 2011, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the comment, "...for education you need to start at a really, really young age," as he was one of the many individuals in support of individuals under 13 to become involved on social media. In a way, the words of authorities like Zuckerberg make sense. After all, children today are going to grow up in a world facilitated by social media, so why shouldn't they get involved early on so that they can familiarize themselves with websites like Facebook and Twitter sooner?
As it stands, larger social companies like Google have seemingly set their sights on getting younger individuals to sign up. One could make the argument that parents are not thrilled about this and it's easy to see why. Even though anonymity is one of those traits typically associated with the Internet, the idea of personal information getting into the wrong hands is a concerning one. Why would a parent allow his or her 10-year-old child to sign up for a website that, in their mind, isn't safe?
On the other hand, it's not exactly new to hear about companies opening up their channels to younger audiences. In fact, according to The Information, YouTube is developing a version of its well-known website for children, which will be free of vulgarity and mature content in both comments and videos alike. It's apparent that social media websites are becoming more attentive to the demands of various audiences. These websites aren't designed only for high school and college students and, from what I have seen, it's for the best.
As the long-term success of Google's lowered age restrictions is concerned, I'd like to think that it this is where many individuals will say, "Let's wait and see." In order for this to be done effectively, parents have to be knowledgeable of their children's social media activity, regardless of whether or not age limits will be lowered. It's the most important rule that any Long Island SEO company can offer parents who are concerned about this. However, with proper supervision, the benefits of early social media engagement might very well be some of the most useful.
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