By Supantha Mukherjee and Eric Auchard
Google is considering allowing online accounts for children under the age of 13 and give their parents control over how the service is used, according to media reports.
Google (GOOG) has been working on a version of YouTube, its video-sharing site, for youngsters and is considering other child-friendly accounts such as its Gmail system, the Financial Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Internet companies such as Google and Facebook (FB) don't offer their services to children under 13, but it is tough to catch users who sign up by providing false information.
A U.S. law called Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, imposes strict controls on the collection and use of information about children under 13.
Google's effort is partly driven by the fact that some parents are already trying to create accounts for their children and the company wants to make the process easier and compliant with the rules, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the effort.
News of Google's changes in this area has already caused concern among privacy advocates, the Journal said.
"Unless Google does this right it will threaten the privacy of millions of children and deny parents the ability to make meaningful decisions about who can collect information on their kids," the Journal quotes Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, an online privacy group, as saying.
Google's move was first reported by technology news website The Information.
Google spokesman Peter Barron declined to comment on what he called "rumors and speculation."
-DailyFinance staff contributed to this article.
Google May Be Weighing YouTube, Gmail Accounts for Kids
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