Facebook – Are your Kids ready?

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Are your children ready for Social Media? While there are a ton of networks out there today, in all likelihood they would start with Facebook. That is still the cool place. So right from the Facebook, you must be 13 in order to sign up. Is that too young? Is that acceptable? As with most decisions as a parent, this should be specific to your own child. The table below shows the number of U.S. Users as of 2011 in 13-17 age category. Over 14 Million.

Some areas to think about and discuss with your child…

Privacy: You can leave it at the door. The moment your child signs up to any Social Network they are exposed. They’ve entered a new arena. Don’t ask Facebook or any network to be their keeper. Don’t be surprised if there information shows up elsewhere on the net. It’s just the nature of the beast no matter what your security setting. For most there will never be an issue, but if you’re highly sensitive to privacy, Social Media probably isn’t the best place for your kids.

46% of kids have given out personal information to someone they’ve met online
34% of kids have friends online they’ve never met in person

Cyberbullying: Bullying has reached new levels since I was kid. We’ve all heard of the tragedies over the last few years. One reminder is the story of Phoebe Prince. While this is an extreme case, cyberbullying is very real. It’s another potential pitfall of being online.

32% of all teens on the Internet say they have been a victim of cyberbullying

Social Media Positives: Undoubtedly you’ve heard or will hear, “but Mom and Dad all my friends are on it.” Social Media should be a fun and enjoyable experience. For most teenagers it has become another important form of communication. Some recent research uncovered some other positives.

Young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing “virtual empathy” to their online friends.

Online social networking can help introverted adolescents learn how to socialize behind the safety of various screens, ranging from a two-inch smartphone to a 17-inch laptop.

Social networking can provide tools for teaching in compelling ways that engage young students.

As with most topics with our children communication is paramount. Keep this in the forefront, and your kids experience should be safe.

Demographic Source: facebook.com
Percentage Source: Family Online Safety Institute
Research Source : American Psychological Association

15 comments
EpicSkin
EpicSkin

I've heard of people starting a page for their baby... before the baby is born even. Hmmm

momzilla54
momzilla54

"What is the minimum age someone has to be to sign up for Facebook?" Is that even the right question? Just because they can doesn't mean they should. 13 year olds seem incredibly sophisticated today when I look back at my own teen years, and it is certainly true that they have been given more information about things to watch out for (and at earlier ages) than ever before. But that doesn't mean that they are actually any more emotionally mature, or any less likely to have a false sense of "that could never happen to me" than teens of previous generations. I think 13 is too young, unless you are willing to monitor them and are technically savvy enough to know what kinds of workarounds they have devised to get around your monitoring.

sbeasla
sbeasla

I think kids can learn a lot from being online but only under close supervision.

socialhospitality
socialhospitality

Great points! Social media for kids seems to be such a touchy subject.

devinelines
devinelines

This is a good primer for parents. Both my kids are Facebook veterans, even though my son is only 12! And unfortunately, my daughter has experienced cyber-bullying firsthand, so I have had to learn how to handle that as well. That'll be the subject of a future blog post!

WriteOnOnline
WriteOnOnline

Am all in favor of the positives that social media has to offer young people - developing communication skills at the top of that list - just as long as these kids have parents watching out for them, as well.

Gabriella51
Gabriella51

I agree with Denise. Such a tough call as a parent. One thing that we did with my granddaughter was set up a Facebook Page and then a private group for her softball team. Only the girls on the team and family members are allowed to join. It seems to be satisfying the FB urge for the girls, the parents are very involved and feel good about the safety factor.

denisesonnenberg
denisesonnenberg

It's a tough world out there. I saw yesterday that there are a large number of children with FB profiles without their parents being aware of it. That's the scary thing. Children don't yet have the savvy developed to understand how what they post can come back to haunt them forever. I think it might be better to allow children to have a page so that it could be monitored more closely. Although there is always the possibility that they could create a 2nd page without getting permission.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

Thanks for stopping by Jeremy. Enjoy yourselves. Plenty of time for kids, which is a whole new world of enjoyment. Yes, kids use of SoMe definitely needs to be monitored. I can't imagine how many of those 14 M kids currently that aren't monitored. Every situation is different, but it definitely should be managed at some level.

Glad to be apart of livefyre. Livefyre is just at a different level, and put it on as soon as I could. Have a great night and thank you...

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