Google+ grew to over 90 million members in short order, and for the most part, it did it without the benefit of teenagers flocking from Facebook (not counting the ones who slipped through the cracks and were previously able to open an account). A change in policy now allows teens age 13 and over to join Google's social networking service, but will they find it fun enough to stick around?
Google promises to put forth an honest effort to keep teens engaged.
"Teens and young adults are the most active Internet users on the planet. And surprise, surprise: they're also human beings who enjoy spending time with friends and family," Google VP of Product Bradley Horowitz said in a Google+ post . "Put these two things together and it's clear that teens will increasingly connect online. Unfortunately, online sharing is still second-rate for this age group... ” With Google+, we want to help teens build meaningful connections online. We also want to provide features that foster safety alongside self-expression. Today we're doing both, for everyone who’s old enough for a Google Account (13+ in most countries).
Horowitz emphasized the importance of circles to separate friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Google will do a little extra to drive this point home among teens, such as encouraging them to "think before post" with people outside their circles. In addition, by default only people in teens' circles can say hello, and blocking someone will always be a click or two away, Horowitz said.
There are other restrictions. If a stranger outside a teen's circles joins in, "we temporarily remove the young adult, and give them a chance to rejoin." More details can be found in Google's Safety Center .
Image Credit: Google