Parenting: How Young is Too Young to Facebook?
February 14, 2011 (WPVI) -- Here's the quick answer: Anyone younger than 13 is too young to Facebook. That is according to Facebook itself.
End of story, right?
Well, it's a bit more complicated than that.
It shouldn't surprise you that crafty, tech-savvy children across the country (and the world) find a way to obtain a Facebook account so they can chat with friends, post pictures, etc. - even when they do not meet the age requirements.
Garlik, an online information company, did a study in Great Britain three years ago, and found that 750 thousand children in that country who were below the age of 13 had obtained accounts on age-restricted sites like Facebook and Myspace.
I'm sure there are plenty of parents out there who are unaware of the age requirements on the social networking site. I have to admit I didn't know there was one until I began writing this parenting blog. First Lady Michelle Obama seemed unsure as well. She said in a recent TV interview that her daughters are not allowed on Facebook, even though neither meets the age requirements (Malia is 12, Sasha is nine - here is a link to that story http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/technology&id=7948332).
So let's say your children follow the rules. Would you let them open an account on their 13th birthday?
Would it be a way for them to show mom and dad that they can be responsible with what they post, who they communicate with, and how much time they spend on the site itself?
Or is this just asking for trouble, given all of the problems we have seen with teens "sexting" at area schools? (There was this recent case in Chester County: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=7949965)
Let us know in the comments section of this blog page. You can also give me a shout on (where else?) Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Matt-ODonnell/92168272835?ref=s.
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