Facebook Age Restriction and Safe Guarding - Compensation Claims

A father recently sued Facebook for failing to enforce its age restriction policy after his 11 year old daughter was found to have been exposed to online sexual predators. It is understood that Facebook settled out of court after a 4 year legal battle where the Claimant’s solicitor’s claimed Facebook had a 'duty of care' towards the girl and was 'negligent' because it has no system in place to stop users from misrepresenting their ages. The girl created several accounts to come into contact with older men, posting sexual pictures of herself. The social networking site took down the accounts after her father brought it to their attention. The court claimed 'By registering an account and using Facebook the child might be exposing herself to sexual predators or other grave risks affecting her emotional and physical health.' and added, ‘Facebook are obviously aware that children who should not be using Facebook are doing so by using the simple device of misrepresenting their age.’ On the website help pages it informs users to notify the site’s administrators if they come across any users that are under age. But the Claimant’s solicitors pointed out that they believed the way that Facebook is used now, it is unsuitable for those under 18 years of age, yet they cannot even keep control of their self-imposed 13 year age restriction. Facebook have said: 'People have to be 13 to sign up to Facebook. When we become aware that someone is under 13 and they have therefore lied about their age, we remove their account. There are some shocking statistics with regard to young users on the network. In 2011 it was claimed that 7.5 million users were under the minimum age of 13. This had then risen by approximately 10 million in the next 18 months. In 2012 research suggested that 38% of children on Facebook were under the minimum age of 13 and that staggeringly, 4% of children were 6 or younger. A recent survey carried out by website knowthenet.com revealed that 52% of 8 to 16-year-olds admitted ignoring Facebook's age policy when signing up. By the age of ten, 59% of children have used a social networking site, the survey found. The site boasts the most users of any of the social media interfaces and recently saw 1 billion individual users in a single day. With 94% of teenagers using Facebook, this new court case has brought about further criticism of the site’s handling of young people on the site. Advice for parents is to ensure that even if your child is 13 or over, to monitor the child’s access, enter their own restrictions and safeguard the child by entering their own security on the site, until a time that they feel the child can use the site appropriately with sufficient knowledge of the risk. Parents are advised to not let their children have an account under the age of 13, as the majority of the time the child has used a parent’s email address or details to beat the age and security restrictions. Those who fear that their child is at risk, should take action immediately and contact Facebook to shut the page down, or do it themselves as well as contacting the police if there is evidence of contact from sexual predators. In terms of legislation going forward and the effect on the legal world, Charles Derham comments that “this is a landmark case pleading negligence in safeguarding’ as he understands ‘Facebook owe a duty of care to any individual using the site, which supersedes the fact that the individual had broken the rules and restrictions of the site to gain access.’ It is argued that as well as monitoring the age restrictions and closing the accounts of those under 13, they should also be sufficiently monitoring those contacting children under 16 who are above the age restriction. If there is continuous contact by a ‘stranger’ or an individual significantly older than the user, there should be security imposed to monitor contact and block users until the threat, if any can be identified.


Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

She is also a member of Verisona Law’s Historic Abuse Team and undertakes documentary analysis, work relating to case evidence and the development of legal arguments to secure successful settlements. She is fluent in German and Persian.

Lisa also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law.

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"Lovely, friendly, great people. Very understanding too and very good at what they do. Very happy with the result, many thanks again Lisa and everyone involved in my case."
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"I would like to express my profound heartfelt gratitude to Lisa Gafarov for all her hard work and understanding when representing me. She fought passionately for my case for two years.

Within this time, never once did I feel it was about the money for her. She was very considerate and dealt with many personal matters in a caring and professional way. It was a very sensitive case but she put in a lot of hard work and went the extra mile each time. Her wide range of expertise was indispensable during this difficult time. Because of this I trusted all her advice and as a result, this took a lot of pressure off of me.

She managed to reach a very amicable conclusion between the defendants and myself. You don’t know how much your passion impacts the lives of others. For this I am forever grateful. I would recommend your firm a hundred times over."
Anonymous, April 2019

Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slip and trip claims
  • Occupier’s liability claims
  • Product Liability claims
  • Industrial disease claims
  • Work related upper limb disorder claims
  • Clinical negligence, including amputation claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Abuse claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

Anonymous


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