Technology has certainly changed our lives for the better and made things easier. I can’t imagine life without my beloved Android that I take everywhere I go. I use it to make calls, text, check my emails and Facebook, and even as my GPS. It’s changing our children’s lives too: they are getting cyber-savvy earlier and earlier. Which means they want to get involved with social media earlier too. What age is the right age for children to get their own Facebook pages?
Currently, The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) mandates that a child must be thirteen to have any sort of Internet account, including Facebook. Recently Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook explained he is working to get the required age lowered because we live in a technology-driven society, and children learning about online media at an early age would be at an advantage later on.
Unfortunately, just because we say no, doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the end of it. At this time, Facebook has no way of verifying the age of the person signing up for an account. All you need to do is enter a name, email address, and date of birth (which could easily be lied about).
I’m not sure there is any one magical age that should be set to decide when children can have their own pages. However, I am sure that when my children’s friends start getting their own pages, I will probably relent and allow it too. I would rather be the one to teach Internet safety to my children, rather than have them sneak behind my back. Facebook could prove to be a teachable moment for how to be safe online. I would also want my children’s passwords, so I could check in and monitor any activity that seems suspicious. I think it’s especially important that from the very start, we teach our kids how and why they need to be safe online.
Does your child have a Facebook page?
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