In order to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Google+ requires its users to be at least 13 years old. My son is only 8 years old, turning 9 early next year. But he wanted to be in my Google+ circle so much so we tried to make him an account using his existing GMail membership. Truth be told, his GMail account was made under a fake birth year just so he can get past the validation process. It was done for the purpose of getting him a log-in email address for Facebook. Likewise, Facebook has the some policy so we had to fake another online account.
What can I say, my son is adept in utilizing the internet. Facebook has been his companion for quite some time now with the help of its game applications like Ninja Saga, CityVille, Ninja Wars, City Zen, Pet Society and a lot more. Who else would have such natural affinity with those applications but little kids other than teenagers. And with Google+’s increasing popularity, it is understandable that kids would want to take a piece of the action.
But Google+ seems to be pretty determined to stick by it’s rules and take it way too seriously. When we made the attempt to sign up for my son’s account, I completely intended to put his real birth year assuming that Google+ would be OK with it given that their project has just been recently launched, perhaps bend some ‘minor’ rules to gain a large quantity of users. But I was dead wrong! I should have just lied about the birth year over again. Because when Google+ realized that a different birth year was submitted under an existing Google member account, they immediately deactivated him. And not only that! My son was kicked off of all Google’s services for his terms of service violation.
When I realized what has happened, I tried re-submitting the sign-up form using a fake birth year but Google+ wanted me to fill out their form Google Account Birthday Correction for Adults which is a PDF file. If I can’t send it back, my son’s account which has been mainly his means to use Facebook will be completely deleted in 29 days.
Oh well. I really regret having thought of coming clean with his real birth year. Now I actually regret having introduced Google+ to him at all!