I have a story for you, leading into today’s debate. After I tell you this, you’re going to think I am either desperate, sad, lonely, possibly pathetic. Maybe all of the above. But I will tell you to illustrate a point; that is the ubiquitous nature of social media, or specifically, Facebook.
My Facebook account was down for maintenance all morning and I felt so… odd.. like I was out of touch. Yeah I had Twitter but I wanted to check in on Facebook; to say hi to my “friends” and find out what’s going on in their lives. I wanted motivation, to see pictures, find out what others are reading, important for someone like me who spends the majority of her time writing alone.
So much to my chagrin, my Facebook page was down for maintenance, a job big enough to span about four hours. Let me say there was palpable relief when I checked in and didn’t get the warning, which, for a moment I thought was a result of some nefarious behavior on my part. I can assure you it was not.
I say all to illustrate what a big role social media plays in our lives. We know that and so does Facebook, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, is considering lowering the minimum age for users. As is it now, kids have to be 13 but studies show that millions of kids lie to obtain accounts before becoming teens, sometimes with their parent’s knowledge. The proposal would allow kids to have Facebook accounts but with parental controls.
So, good idea or not? Those who believe Facebook’s secondary (or primary?) role is to gather information on its users, are very concerned. Add to that the number of bullying incidents with tragic outcomes and you can see where there might be cause for that concern.
My personal take on it is that, if the parental controls were appropriate, I would be okay with my kid being on Facebook under 13. Of course, you’re talking to someone who’s kids were part of Club Penguin too so social media has been a part of their lives for many years.
Like a lot of things (TV, computer, etc..), Facebook cannot be allowed to be a babysitter so that means we as parents, can’t not be derelict in our duties. That means knowing what our kids are doing online…. And off.
That’s my take.. what about you guys? Facebook for kids under 13, good idea or bad? Are your kids on Facebook? How much do you monitor their online behavior and are there things going on that worry you?
Lemme hear ya!
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