LinkedIn – the age old question

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Findings from Font’s 2013 Social Media Index, which show the increase in usage of LinkedIn by students from two per cent to 22 per cent in just one year, are now supported by one of LinkedIn’s biggest announcements.

In August, LinkedIn made the decision to reduce the minimum age limit for joining members from 18 to 13 years, in an attempt to attract a younger membership base.

While the lowest age range is 13 years old, it is still dependent on the legal requirements in each country, meaning Australia’s minimum age limit will be lowered to 14 years of age along with the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain and South Korea.

China will retain the previous minimum age limit of 18, while the Netherlands will only lower theirs to 16, with all other countries lowering theirs to the minimum of 13 years of age.

Together with these changes, LinkedIn has also integrated some new protective measures to ensure the online experience is safe and valuable to those under the age of 18, which include:

  • Profiles will not display age
  • Profiles will not show up in search engines
  • Rather than showing first and last names, LinkedIn will only display first name and the surname initial
  • No specific location will be given for those under the age of 18, just a general region

The changes, which take effect from 12 September 2013, are to work in conjunction with a new University Pages section of the site, aimed at giving prospective students access to information about colleges as well as the ability to connect with current students and alumni who may be able to assist with any questions regarding specific career paths.

Additionally, it gives prospective students a choice of universities worldwide and expand their opportunities in both study and choice of career path, with the added bonus of building a worldwide network.

LinkedIn hopes this new feature will add to the university experience as well as its worldwide membership base.

While not every 13-17 year old will utilise this service, the question must be asked, are we doing our children a disservice and taking away from their adolescent experiences and pushing them into the pressure of study and career aspirations too quickly? You be the judge.
This post has utilised information from an article by Rónán Duffy published on Business ETC website.

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