LinkedIn is opening its doors to younger users with news that UK professionals will be joined by children as young as 13 on the site as they start building a profile with their future career in mind.
The change, which takes effect from 12 September, will allow a new demographic to use LinkedIn and it brings the site in line with Twitter and Facebook in allowing children to use the services.
“Smart, ambitious students are already thinking about their futures when they step foot into high school – where they want to go to college, what they want to study, where they want to live and work. We want to encourage these students to leverage the insights and connections of the millions of successful professionals on LinkedIn, so they can make the most informed decisions and start their careers off right,” said Eric Heath on LinkedIn’s blog.
The move follows the announcement earlier this week that University Pages are being launched by the site to allow “schools, students, and alumni to connect, communicate, and explore unique insights about the full range of career possibilities”.
LinkedIn’s new under 18 members will have a variety of settings that are unique to them. This includes different default settings to limit the amount of profile information made public, “special routing” for customer support tickets and special links to the Safety Centre and Family Centre being added to their profiles.
There has been a mixed reception to the news with some holding it up as a unique opportunity to allow children to get a head-start on choosing a college. Dr Bernie Hogan, of the Oxford Internet Institute, later told the BBC it would help children to "differentiate between the public profile they want for employment [and] the personal profile they share on Facebook with their friends and family".
Others, meanwhile, have been critical of the move with LinkedIn user Rik Ferguson telling IBTimes UK that “lowering the entry age requirement dilutes that target audience and means that neither LinkedIn, or its advertising partners will be so focussed in their aims”.