Sasha and Malia Obama get to do a lot more than average kids their ages. But there's one experience most adolescents enjoy that the girls are forbidden from doing: getting on Facebook.
In an interview with People Magazine, President Obama and the First Lady said the girls are not allowed to sign up for the social networking site.
"Why would we want to have a whole bunch of people who we don't know knowing our business?" the president said. "That doesn't make much sense."
The Obama's privacy concerns might be justified, considering the website's controversial history of sharing user information. But despite their parents' opinion, the Facebook age limit, set by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, makes it illegal for Sasha, 10, to join the site. At age 13, Malia is eligible, but not without her parents' permission.
The Obama girls are outliers among their peers, who use Facebook and a host of other social networking sites in large numbers. According to figures released by Consumer Reports Magazine, there were 7.5 million children under the age of 13 using Facebook in June 2011.
The Obamas are also a minority of parents who forbid their children from joining the site. A New York University survey found that 55 percent of U.S. parents with 12-year-olds said their child had a Facebook account, and 76 percent of them helped them register.
With so many of their peers on Facebook, Sasha and Malia may feel like they're missing out on a cultural phenomenon. But the president seemed open to letting them join the site in the future.
"We'll see how they feel in four years," he said.
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