In the age of the Internet, at what age is it appropriate to let children access social networking sites? Read more to see what the Moms Council has to say this week.
Q: At what age do you allow a child to operate a Facebook account? And do you "friend" them?
A: Kris Lyons: My teenage daughter got a Facebook account a few years ago without our permission. Once we found out we told her she could keep it if we were her friends and had her password. She agreed and there have been no problems since. We are also Facebook friends with many of our teenage niece and nephews and they asked us to be friends! I think it can be a fun social tool but teens don't always realize appropriate boundaries so it's the parents job to keep them safe.
A: Darline Almeida: My son is only five-years-old, I cannot fathom what will be the next "must have" in technology in another 10 years or so. By then Facebook might be the thing of the past, who knows. As for myself, I have Facebook, it is one of my many ways I keep in contact with my family and friends who live in the area and those who live in other parts of the world. I do have my younger preteen cousins and the children of my friends on my profile. Since most are young, it is their social network that keeps the rest of us informed of news, some may be nothing more than "hangin with Haley" or like the one I got from my younger cousin "mom just had her baby." It is a big part of their everyday lives. I know Facebook you are supposed to be 18-years-old to have access, although, that doesn't stop some from having it. However, it is a parents job to be kept in loop of what is going on with your child's facebook page. Parents also need to talk to their kids as to why they should or shouldn't have facebook and decide if it's the right thing for them at this moment in time. If the parents and their child decide this is okay then there needs to be some ground rules set and agreed upon by all parties involved. Some may need to be friends on their child's profile page without restrictions and have their child's password. Most importantly parents need to be aware of cyber bullying and know all the lingo of what their kids are writing, such as "POS" which means "parent over shoulder."
A: Eileen Famiglietti: My kids are all under 12-years-old and none of them have Facebook accounts. My 10 year-oldold has been asking for one for awhile because a few of his friends have one. I prefer he not have one until he is a teenager. If and when he does have an account, I would want to monitor his page but I would not want to friend him. That was just be too weird.
A: Denise Zonfrillo: My almost-9 year old has a Facebook account, but it's probably been a year since he asked me if he could log on. He had heard so much talk about it that he thought he was missing out on something, so his father and I agreed that we would create one for him using fake demographics. He loved being able to "friend" our family members and say hi to them, but the fascination only lasted a few weeks. When the day comes where he wants a "real" Facebook account (real name, school friends to communicate with), I will definitely want to be friended to keep an eye on content.
A: Kimberly Sluter: I personally do not have a Facebook account. I have no idea if Facebook will still be the latest and greatest when my toddler reaches an age where he is navigating the Web independently. As with any privilege I think my husband and I will set clear expectations and appropriate boundaries regarding the internet and social networking sites.