Patented Q & A Database


At what age would you allow or not allow your child to have a Facebook?


Beverly Willett Replied: I have never been a one size fits all parent, but in this case my gut tells me at least not before middle school. Every parent knows their own child best so I think that's where the next cut gets made. From what I know personally and from other parents, your kids do not want you as their "friends" on Facebook. Apparently, it's social suicide. That means that unless you insist on being your child's friend on Facebook, and therefore get to take a look at everything they post, you'll have to trust that they'll make the right decisions about what they post and who they decide to interact with. Do you think your child is ready for that responsibility? You can always pull the plug so maybe you feel you're at least ready to let them test it out? Have they shown themselves responsible in other areas -- e.g. how discerning are they when it comes to choosing their friends, using IM and e-mail in general? Before you decide to let your child sign up for Facebook, you'll still want to have a discussion about ground rules -- what's you consider appropriate and inappropriate to post (pictures as well as written material), who you consider appropriate and not for them to interact with, as well as personal information about themselves you believe for safety reasons it might not be prudent to post. While you may not want to be a snoop, you might consider also asking them from time to time to at least show you who their friends are on Facebook and tell you who they are. From time to time, even though your kids may not want you as their "friend" on Facebook, they are friends with other adults -- e.g. their teachers, friends of yours, etc. You'll have to decide whether or not you feel comfortable asking those "friends" to let you know if they spot any trouble. Unfortunately, we live in a society so technologically connected that it's a given we as parents simply are not going to personally know all of our children's friends so we have to do the best we can. One final thought to throw into the mix. Here's what Facebook has to say about what's appropriate. The Facebook policy states that it does not knowingly collect or solicit personal information from anyone under 13 or knowingly allow such persons to register. They say that if a person is under 13, please do not attempt to register, etc. and that "no one under age 13 may provide any personal information to or on Facebook." But then they say that in the event they learn that they have collected personal information from a child under 13 "without verification of parental consent" they will delete it. If you're confused, so am I. This seems contradictory to me -- that perhaps they won't delete it if the personal information was posted with parental consent. I'd advise giving Facebook a call or send them an email for clarification as to what is permissible and not. Hope this helps. Good luck.
Posted On 2009-03-02 19:13:30
Maureen Whitehouse Replied: I suggest that you sign up for your own Facebook account, get to know how it works and then you can make a better informed decision about this for yourself. I feel each child is individual and unique and so there is no "right" or "wrong" age for this. Once you join Facebook, you'll see that it's a fairly safe entity.

Then when your child does join Facebook, at whatever age they choose to do so, or that you both agree is appropriate for them to get the most out of it, you can "friend" them and actually become an even greater part of their world. Even see their life, quite possibly, from a whole new perspective. Are you aware that whatever you post on Facebook, is accessible by all of your friends and so everyone you know and love can see it?

So, I would say that if you are worried about Facebook's safety, one you do join you'll see that the way that it's set up, you'll actually be able to become involved, be informed about their lives and have access to your child's "world" if you join in on the fun they are having with this online community.

I don't feel that it's ever beneficial to our children, or to ourselves, to approach any decisions we make from a perspective of fear.
Instead, you can look at this as a fun opportunity to share an online experience with them. Be sure of one thing though... this new way of communicating with the entire planet is here to stay and will mostly likely be expanding, changing and growing in years to come.

By the way, here's my Facebook page and both of my daughters connect with me there often:

Posted On 2009-03-02 17:56:19
Rachel Russo Replied: This social networking site which was originally created for young children has attracted people of all ages. Children who are under junior high age (13) should not be on Facebook. Teenagers thirteen and up should be advised to use the site with caution. Depending on the maturity level of the child, it may be appropriate to wait a little longer or have detailed conversations about the dangers of the site.
Posted On 2009-02-25 10:18:06
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