Father alarmed after 10-year-old daughter launches own GoFundMe campaign

BRENTWOOD, Calif (KGO) -- How young is too young for a child to jump on social media? A father found out his 10-year-old daughter had started her own GoFundMe page. It all seemed innocent to the Brentwood man's daughter; an easy way to earn some spending money.

Dad naturally didn't see it that way.

Mark Hargitt works at a yacht club in Alameda. He found out about his daughter's social media page by doing a Google search.

"Out of curiosity, every once in a while, I'll Google members of my family name and this time it was my daughter," explained Hargitt.

Hargitt read a portion of his daughter's page: "I'm young and saving up to buy Christmas gifts because I like to buy my friends and family Christmas gifts. I need $200."

Hargitt didn't discover the page until after the holidays.

It still concerned him that his 10-year-old's picture remained up. (We're not showing you that photo or revealing her name out of caution.)

"I'm glad that no one that might have been an online predator tried to contact her and bait her," he said.

Christine Carter is with UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. She urges parents to talk to their children about the dangers lurking on social media.

"We need to introduce the idea that all time spent online isn't necessarily safe and that they can protect themselves," Carter said.

She suggests setting up technology contracts for your kids. It's rules that you set and that your kids agree to before they use any social media sites. Examples are available on-line from groups like Common Sense Media and in her new book The New Adolescence.

"There are ways that we could protect kids better. It's not happening right now, given that's not happening as parents, we need to get out in front of it," Carter urged.

GoFundMe's own policy prohibits children under 13 from opening an account. It's possible Marks' daughter lied to launch her campaign.

Mark reached out to GoFundMe asking that it take the campaign down. When he didn't hear back, he emailed 7 On Your Side and we contacted the company.

Within two hours, GoFundMe took it down.

"Thank you much Michael for helping me and keeping my daughter safe," Hargitt said.

GoFundMe says it has a security team to verify the identity of campaign organizers and make sure they comply with all its terms. It did not say what went wrong in this case.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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