|Sat Nov 16 2013 22:51:05|
How Old Is Too Young to Shop Online?
By: Ina Steiner
My parents encouraged my siblings and I to work, open a checking account and shop well before the age of 18. That was before ecommerce (and before the days of giving children credit cards), but I don't suppose we were any more - or less - mature than kids today.
But now shopping is just as likely to take place online as in-store, and I wondered recently, how hold is too young to shop online? eBay says you have to be 18 years old, though you can use an adult's account with permission. Amazon says you can use the site if you are under 18 only with involvement of a parent or guardian.
Sears is adamant you must be 18 years or older to even access the site: "If you are not at least 18 years of age, do not access, use, register or purchase merchandise on the Sears Site. In the event we become aware you are under 18, we will terminate your registration."
I've often heard marketplace sellers grumble about children making purchases and trying to back out of the sale, or about adults who blamed their kids (or even pets, for that matter), for "accidentally" bidding on auctions. But exactly how old is too young?
Microsoft's Director of Online Safety Kim Sanchez recently blogged about the issue of children accessing the Internet, writing, "To give, or not to give your child access to the Internet isn't the question. For many parents, the question is, when?"
Sanchez said a Microsoft survey, How Old is Too Young To Go Online, found that almost all parents - 94 percent - allowed their kids to use at least one online service or device. The survey found that eight years old is the average age at which parents allow independent Internet and device use.
The survey also found that of parents with children under the age of seven:
- Twenty-nine percent allow their children to use mobile phones unsupervised
- Forty percent allow their children to use a computer unsupervised
- Forty-one percent allow their children to use a gaming console unsupervised
Unfortunately the survey results didn't mention anything about parents' restrictions on online shopping.
What do you think - as online sellers, with or without children - how old is too young to shop online? Have you had any good or bad experiences with underage buyers?