From the moment Google+ first launched it has been a fairly exclusive site, enforcing strict policies about who joins and only having limited spaces available to begin with. Since then Google has relaxed certain rules and now has a huge following, although nowhere near the scale of rival social network Facebook just yet. That may be about to change however as they are now allowing teenagers to sign up to the social network.
Of course with these relaxed rules and allowing for new younger 13+ users to join, it brings fresh security issues that must be addressed first, which is why Google say they are also introducing new safety requirements specific to the under 18s age group. Any security changes made are reported to trigger warnings and default settings will be tighter than for the adults, which will include restrictions on video chat and controls concerning who is actually allowed to contact the teens.
Google+ Vice President, Bradley Horowitz says ‘Sadly, today’s most popular online tools are rigid and brittle by comparison, so teens end up over-sharing with all of their so-called ‘friends’.’ With the new default security settings only the people in the teens’ circles will be able to see their relationship status, for example, or comment on their posts or notify them. They will also receive a warning if they are about to post something that will be public, as a reminder.
Horowitz concluded that Google’s aim is simple ‘build awesome features that teens really want, encourage safe behavior through appropriate defaults and in-product help, and make abuse reporting tools easy to find and use.’ According to the report at TG Daily, this new move from Google+ won’t apply in the Netherlands, South Korea or Spain as the national age requirements differ.
Are you glad the age restriction has been lifted?