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Are Your Underage Kids on Facebook?

By sandymaple |

Underage kids on FacebookThere are generally two schools of thought when it come to social networking and kids.  Facebook is either a great way for kids to interact with each other and develop emotional bonds with larger numbers of people or it’s a potentially dangerous time suck that prevent kids from having meaningful relationships with people in the real world.  Either way, one thing is certain:  The pros and cons of social networking shouldn’t be an issue for kids under 13 because they aren’t even supposed to be there.

But they are, aren’t they?  Caroline Knorr at Common Sense Media writes about how many parents have a hard time saying no to their underage kids who want to be a part of the social networking community.  Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz or YouTube, little kids are logging on with their parent’s permission.  Why is this?

For many parents, it comes down to peer pressure. If all her friends are on Facebook, it’s hard to tell your kid that she’s too young.  And besides, most parents who do allow their kids to set up accounts on social networking sites are pretty good at keeping tabs on their online behavior.  They “friend” their kids and make sure they know how to behave responsibly online.  They set time limits and lay down rules.

But what about those rules? In order for a kid under 13 to set up an account on most social networking sites, she has to lie about her age.  And lying is against the rules, right?  So, how do  parents reconcile this contradiction?

I don’t know because I won’t do it.  I am not particularly afraid of what my 9-year-old might get up to should she have a Facebook account.  She’s a good kid who is mature enough to set limits for herself and steer clear of things she knows are inappropriate.   But despite the fact that she would love to be on Facebook, I am holding firm because by allowing her to break the age limit rule, I would be consenting to behavior that she and I both know is wrong.  For me, that’s a slipperly slope that is easily enough avoided with the word “no.”

What about you?  How do you feel about underage kids joining grown up social networking sites?

Image: Franco Bouly/Flickr

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6 thoughts on “Are Your Underage Kids on Facebook?

  1. [...] Are Your Underage Kids on Facebook? [...]

  2. [...] of what they’re doing online.  Social networking is more popular than ever — even underage kids are logging onto Facebook — and these kinds of sites are a big draw for [...]

  3. Sarah says:

    My 7 year old niece has a Facebook account. I “friended” her, but also told her that I don’t approve of her having one, as she is VERY young for it. Her mother (my former sister-in-law) let her sign up. Mostly she plays a game similar to Farmville only able raising a pet.

  4. Valerie says:

    There are many, many underage people with facebook profiles. Many of these people have their parents blessing. I know because their parents have friended them. This is wrong. You must be 13 to have a facebook account. Parents should not support their kids in allowing them to break the rules. Facebook requires you to enter your date of birth when you make a Facebook profile. People who are under 13 are entering a fake birthdate. I am aghast that parents permit this type of lying. What is next? Will parents help their minors obtain fake id’s for the purposes of buying alcohol when they are underage? Be a parent. Insist your kids follow the rules.

  5. Cat says:

    i’m a good kid myself, i report any younger friends of mine if they are under 13, i admit it.

  6. dana hershman says:

    i am amazed at the parents that have friended their underage kids on facebook what are they thinking! i am told repeatedly by those parents well i check my daughter facebook omg really have u ever heard of the delete button r u really that ignorant why chance it ?after all you r supposed to be the grown up setting rules for your child not them dictating to u what they want just remember you r setting a great example by telling your child it is okay to lie because that is ultimately what u r doing fake birthdate…….so how can you as a parent punish your child for lying when that is what you taught them ;;;;!!!!!!!

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