LinkedIn, the social networking site known chiefly as a site for business professionals, is expanding to let teenagers join.
LinkedIn University Pages will allow teens 14-18 years old to sign up for the social service in the United States, with children as young as 13 able to join in other countries. Its aim is to help students figure out what they want to be and where they want to go to college. From the company’s blog post announcing the change:
We believe University Pages will be especially valuable for students making their first big decision, about where to attend college. Therefore, beginning on September 12, we will be making LinkedIn 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.
It’s certainly a shrewd move for LinkedIn; get ’em while they’re young. Maybe in the future, applying for college will be a matter of pointing and clicking. LinkedIn can skim a percentage of the application fee.
Some, including Huffington Post contributor Kim Garst, wonder whether 14-year-olds should be using the same LinkedIn as professionals looking to network, however. She writes, “I am all for using social media to enhance our children’s lives and I love the idea of establishing relationships with colleges early. I am just not convinced this is the right vehicle to do it.”
In case you’re wondering whether the teens in your life are mature enough to handle LinkedIn, you may want to share with them our 10 essentials of LinkedIn etiquette.