Although Facebook is restricted to people 13 and up, almost one in five French children aged 8 to 12 are members, a study has found.

"/> Although Facebook is restricted to people 13 and up, almost one in five French children aged 8 to 12 are members, a study has found.

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Thousands of French minors on Facebook

Although Facebook is restricted to people 13 and up, almost one in five French children aged 8 to 12 are members, a study has found.

Thousands of French minors on Facebook
Jacob Boetter

Almost half of kids from 8 to 17 have signed up at a social networking site.

The survey, carried out by TNS Sofes and released on Monday, asked a representative sample of 1,200 young people how they use online social networks.

Asked which social networking sites they visit, all respondents named Facebook, while 3 percent said they used Skyblog, and 1 percent named Myspace.

Among the youngest group in the survey, the 8–12 year olds, 18 percent admitted they had a Facebook account, and 97 percent said their parents knew about their profiles.

California-based Facebook restricts usage of its social networking site to people over 13.

Among the larger 8–17 year-old group, 48 percent said they had “opened an account or created a profile on a social networking site.” Of those, 59 percent said they logged into the site every day or almost every day.

Regarding parental monitoring, 44 percent said their parents supervised their online activities “a little,” 11 percent said “a lot,” and another 44 percent said “not at all.”

One child in three questioned for the survey said they had been “shocked” by something they had seen or read on the network. When asked for details, almost one in five said the material had to do with “sex, pornography or nudity.” Other reasons given were violent pictures or videos and racist or homophobic comments.

Only 11 percent said they had discussed the disturbing content with their parents.

Several organizations involved in the study, including the child welfare group Action Innocence and the National Union of Family Associations (Unaf), counselled parents to keep the family computer in a common room where it would be easier to monitor children’s online activities.

They also advised parents to ask their children specifically about their Facebook usage.

“In showing interest in what you child does and not just in the amount of time spent on the Internet, you show that you are there to listen if there are any problems,” the groups said in a statement.

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TECHNOLOGY

French watchdog fines Google and Amazon subsidiary €135m for unauthorised cookies

France's CNIL data privacy watchdog said on Thursday it had fined two Google units a total of €100 million and an Amazon subsidiary €35 million over advertising cookies.

French watchdog fines Google and Amazon subsidiary €135m for unauthorised cookies
Photo: AFP

The regulator said the fines were “for having placed advertising cookies on the computers of users … without obtaining prior consent and without providing adequate information.”

A cookie is a small piece of data stored on a user's computer browser that allows websites to identify users and remember their previous activity.

The CNIL said when a user visited the website google.fr, several cookies used for advertising purposes were automatically placed on his or her computer, without any action required on the user's part.

It said a similar thing happened when visiting one page on the amazon.fr website.

CNIL said this type of cookie “can only be placed after the user has expressed his or her consent” and thus violated regulations on receiving prior consent.

It faulted Google for providing insufficient privacy information for users as it did not let them know about the cookies which had been placed and that the procedure to block them still left one operational.

CNIL also said Amazon had not provided clear or complete information about the cookies it placed on computers of users until a redesign in September 2020.

Google also stopped placing cookies on the computers of users without consent in September, CNIL said, but added it still does not provide a sufficient explanation for their use.

The regulator said “no matter what path the users used to visit the website, they were either insufficiently informed or never informed of the fact that cookies were placed on their computer.”

The €35 million fine is on the Amazon Europe Core subsidiary.

CNIL imposed fines of €60 million on Google LLC and €40 million on Google Ireland Limited.

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