Google Reportedly Mulling the Idea of Kid-friendly YouTube and Gmail Accounts

Because Google adheres to COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, the company hasn't ever allowed persons under the age of 13 to sign up for any of its services. Nothing could ever stop a youngin from fibbing about their age, of course, but legally, Google's been on safe ground.

Rumor now has it, though, that the company is working out a way to legally offer its services to pre-teens - or at least Gmail and YouTube. The idea is that the children's parents would be the ones to sign up for the account, and would have full control over how they're used, and what kind of information Google would be allowed to gather.

For Google, the benefits here would be two-fold. If parents allowed it, their children could be monitored to an extent where Google would be allowed to cater advertising towards them. Secondly, getting children hooked on Google's services early - especially Gmail - could pay off well for the company in the long-run; especially when any user breaks into their teenage years and COPPA no longer applies to them.

Children themselves could benefit as well, especially if a service like YouTube is fine-tuned for their age group. Chances are good that most pre-teens are not going to be that interested in the usual assortment of videos that grace YouTube's homepage, after all. For parents, their benefit would be the knowledge that their child is under some sort of protection while visiting Google's services - plus, they could get the added benefit of being able to monitor the account's usage. Children might not like that idea, but it'd be a lot better than suffering with the Ignore No More app, right?