Facebook and Kids: The Same Old Story

In April, before I knew that the Facebook company would try to encourage a new audience of kids, Long Island Parent asked our readers in our online poll:  Facebook has a minimum age of 13 to sign up for an account, but that hasn’t stopped kids 12 and under. Would you allow your child to sign up for Facebook before 13? Ninety percent of our readers said no. At the time I recommended to the 10 percent who do allow their child to get a Facebook account that they make sure to monitor it so their kids don’t become victims of bullies or have access to information they’re too young for. I still stand by that statement. Now parents who hadn’t been considering Facebook for their kids before are feeling the pressure to cave–and to have one more thing to do, monitor their kids in yet another risky setting.

Meanwhile, all Facebook is doing is making it easier for some parents to allow their kids to do what they wanted to do in the first place. This is a familiar theme, the idea of letting our children do the popular activity or own THE new item, when it’s not age-appropriate to do so. Just because Facebook says it’s okay to allow your kids into their world doesn’t mean parents have to.

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