Children to have Linkedin profiles

The LinkedIn logo outside the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California 6 February 2013

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Linkedin is dropping its minimum age for membership from 18 to 13.

Children's profiles will have default settings making less of their personal information publicly visible, with more prominent links to safety information.

Support requests from child members will also be dealt with separately.

The decision comes the day after the social-networking site for professionals launched University Pages, allowing higher education institutions to set up profiles.

Dr Bernie Hogan, of the Oxford Internet Institute, said the development, which takes effect on 12 September, would help children "differentiate between the public profile they want for employment [and] the personal profile they share on Facebook with their friends and family".

"I am personally opposed to employers intruding on Facebook pages while screening candidates," he said.

"The risk of unintended discrimination is very high."

But Dr Hogan also warned children could become a nuisance to Linkedin's 225 million existing members if they used the site to play games or set up profiles with false names.

"You can't get employed under a fake name," he said.

New York University, the University of Michigan and French business school Insead have already set up Linkedin profiles.

"University Pages will be especially valuable for students making their first big decision about where to attend college," Linkedin's head of universities Christina Allen said in a blog post.

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