Should your kids be on Facebook?

Parents are you being asked “When can I join Facebook?” by your teens and tweens.

Although Facebook itself clearly states that the site is not for children under the age of 13, evidence suggests that many kids lie about their age and open Facebook accounts at age 12 or even younger.

We suggest not falsifying your child’s age, but with your young teen 13 or older take a some time and supervise setting up an account. The reason? Working with a young child on a Facebook account can provide what educators like to call a perfect “teachable moment”: an opportunity to impart knowledge and important guidance in an atmosphere in which your child is very eager to learn.

Think about it. Would you rather have your child open a Facebook account without your knowledge and spend the first couple of years of their social networking lives stumbling across mean-spirited gossip and inappropriate photos; or would you rather teach them what’s acceptable online behavior and what should be avoided at all costs!

If you open a Facebook account together, you can help them set up their profile, choose an appropriate photo, and make sure their privacy settings are properly in place. You can review their updates, see their friends’ posts and let them know if you see something inappropriate.

Plus, parents of younger children have a one-time opportunity to “friend” their child on Facebook; an opportunity that’s unlikely to be there if you wait until they reach 8th grade. Even if you fade into the background as your child gets older (and avoid commenting on everything you see!), you will still be able to watch over your child’s Internet development, as well as keep an eye on who they are hanging out with!

So next time your child asks you if they can have a Facebook account, think twice before you say “No”. It could be the start of a beautiful online friendship!

Adapted from TheOnlineMom.com

  • 07/13/2010
  • IT