The Kids Aren’t the Only Ones

by Tom Swift

A recent headline in The New York Times: “Groups Say Facebook Duped Kids.”[1]

Seventeen children’s advocacy groups are accusing Facebook of wittingly deceiving kids into spending money while playing games on the site. The groups believe Facebook violated consumer protection and child privacy laws in the way it encouraged kids to make purchases, many in the hundreds and thousands of dollars, while playing games such as Angry Birds, Petville, and Ninja Saga. Court documents that include internal Facebook memos and e-mails suggest site developers aimed to create features that would encourage credit card purchases while playing the games, the article reports. The children were not aware that that they were spending real money via their parents’ credit cards, which were stored on the site. Facebook did not respond to requests to comment on the article.

No one requested but I have comments on the article:

I wonder how many of the affected parents still have Facebook accounts.

I wonder how many of those parents who still have Facebook accounts use their Facebook accounts nearly every day.

People give credit card information to Facebook?

Kids are left alone for long periods of time with Facebook?

As of December 31, 2018, Facebook has 2.32 billion monthly active users.[2]

Sixty-eight percent of adults in the United States use Facebook. Roughly three-quarters of Facebook users visit the site daily.[3]

The average Facebook user spends almost an hour on the site every day.[4]

Forty-eight percent of Americans say they do not have enough time in the day.[5]

The most popular types of Facebook posts: inspirational quotes, pleas for support/pity, personal boasts, random thoughts (politics, sports, dinner), rants (politics, sports, dinner), and “love-you-guys” notes to partners, individual friends, or groups of buddies.[6]

A Google search for “Facebook” AND “depression” found 378,000,000 results.

The more you use Facebook the worse you feel.[7]

Social media sites such as Facebook have been attributed to poorer cognitive functioning, including in the areas of independent thinking, multitasking, impulsiveness, and the ability to conduct real-life conversations.[8][9]

Russian disinformation reached at least 126 million Facebook users during the 2016 United States presidential campaign, Facebook has conceded.[10]

I am old enough to remember a world before Facebook.

I am young enough to have used Facebook over two different periods — once for less than a year in the late 2000s and again for about three years starting in 2015.[11]

I wonder what life is like for someone who doesn’t know a world without Facebook.

How many years will it be before there is no sizable population in America who does know a world without Facebook?

Will there be a time when there is no sizable population in America who spends an ordinary day without Facebook?


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[1] Cecilia Kang, February 21, 2019.

[2] “The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics,” Dan Noyes, Zephoria Digital Marketing,, January 2019.

[3] “Social Media Use in 2018,” Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center: Internet & Technology, March 1, 2018.

[4] “A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel,” Holly B. Shakya and Nicholas A. Christakis, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2017.

[5] Frank Newport, “Americans’ Perceived Time Crunch No Worse Than in Past,” Gallup, December 31, 2015.

[6] “The Ten Most Common Facebook Statuses,” Sarah Fader,, April 9, 2014.

[7] Shakya and Christakis.

[8] Damon Beres, “10 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain,” Reader’s Digest, Aug 20, 2018.

[9] Correct: I am not very fun at parties.

[10] Jane Mayer, “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump,” The New Yorker, October 1, 2018 issue.

[11] My account is currently deactivated.