Facebook – Are your Kids ready?

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