Children Allowed to Open Facebook Accounts?
News is spreading.
Facebook is considering allowing children under the age of 13 to have accounts on Facebook.
The question would had to have come sooner or later as means for continual Facebook growth. Previously anyone under the age of 13 were not allowed to have accounts, though a Consumer Report study estimated that out of 20 million minors on Facebook, 7.5 million of these children were younger than 13. Among these users, 5 million were 10 years or younger and were not being supervised by their parents. Age restrictions have always been difficult on the internet.
This is not a simple matter of whether to let kids have access or not. Keep in mind, part of the reasoning in keeping young children on Facebook is the incredible dangers that it poses.
There are the obvious factors most people would know, such as the presence of sexual predators, and creepy people talking to kids. Also one million kids were harassed, threatened, or cyberbullied on the past in the last year (Consumer Reports). There has been numerous studies on how the internet and social media cause anti-social behaviors in hyper-connected children. We here at Clean Cut Media even posted an infographic about how the internet is ruining your brain! But even more than these obvious issues, there are many other dangers not as well known. For example:
Dangers of Children on Facebook You May Not Know
Photo Accessibility: Photos posted on Facebook or the internet in general can easily spread very quickly. As they say once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever, even if you delete them. Even if you were careful, it can easily be grabbed by someone and posted elsewhere. There are many instances were lives were ruined because of some poor Facebook photo going viral. This is not only for photos you upload, but photos your friends may upload or you upload of your friends. Many lives are ruined because of one photo uploaded by someone who didn’t think through the consequences.
Abuse of Knowledge: Another example many do not consider is how sites like Facebook are used for theft and burglary. Did you just say you and your family are going on a awesome 3 month vacation to Europe? You just announced your home will be vacant for 3 months. It’s scary to think about, but consider how else more dangerous people can utilize such information.
Inappropriate Content: How about dangerous and inappropriate links shared by friends, strangers, malware or clicked on by accident as they surfed the web?
Is your daughter posting pictures of themselves all over the net? Who can access those? Download those?
Any Other way of Handling Pre-Teens on Facebook?
Some may argue that the children are already on it anyway and more should be done to help allow parents to monitor. Is that Facebook’s responsibility to provide the tools to do so or does it mostly lie on the parent? How about the idea that Facebook create a separate sub-site for those under 13 with strict monitoring tools and filters as well as an easy way to transition the account to the main facebook platform? Food for thought. Share your ideas!
Should Children be Allowed to Use Facebook?
- Do you support Facebook opening up to pre-teen accounts?
- What is the best way for parents to help monitor or prevent children from making terrible mistakes?
- At what age do you think, children have the capacity to think intelligently about these things?