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LinkedIn lowers age of consent to 13

Hey, kids: can Facebook get you a JOB?

Two teenage girls - one whispering in other's ear

LinkedIn, generally regarded as the premier social network for grown ups with jobs, has decided 13 year olds are now welcome as members.

The reason is a new creation called “University Pages” that LinkedIn feels “will be especially valuable for students making their first, big decision about where to attend college.”

As of September 12th, those pages and the rest of the site will be made available to “... high school students who can use LinkedIn to explore schools worldwide, greatly expand their understanding of the careers available, and get a head start on building a network of family and friends to help guide them at every milestone.”

If that reads a little bit like the voice over to a bad corporate video, know that about 200 universities have signed up to create their own pages, which will be filled with details about campus life for prospective and current students. The inevitable blog post announcing the new pages also hints that by joining in, students can find peers or graduates and learn from their experiences.

To make this available to High Schoolers, the site has also updated its terms of service to allow folks as young as 13 to use the service.

Residents of the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia and South Korea have to wait until they turn 14, while Dutch citizens have another two years to wait and Chinese users must be 18. The rest of the world an sign up aged 13.

It will be interesting to see if this takes off. LinkedIn's last big innovation, the Endorsements feature, is hard to take seriously as members often endorse one another for skills they may not possess or have practised in anger for years. Your correspondent, for example, is often endorsed for public relations skills he has not exercised since 2001.

The potential for teenagers to go silly with this stuff is huge: Vulture South is sure it won't be long before teenagers the world over start endorsing one another for all manner of vulgar feats. And that's before we begin to contemplate what happens if they start discussing sexual prowess and/or conquests, real or imagined. ®

Bootnote Feel free to endorse your correspondent for Freestyle Llama Wrestling, a made-up skill we rather hope gathers lots of endorsements to highlight the silliness of the whole endorsements caper.

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