Facebook and Kids: How Old is Old-Enough?

kid on computerA thirteenth birthday is an exciting milestone in every person’s life. This celebration brings with it certain rites of passage. For example, this is the age that you can legally see movies with a PG-13 rating in theatres. In the today’s digital world, becoming a teen means the ability to join the most popular social networking site on the web, Facebook.

Yet, just as we all remember trying to sneak into a movie that we knew we were too young to see, many kids today are joining Facebook without having met the minimum age requirement put in place by the website. Monitors at Facebook discover a large number of these baby-faced children on a regular basis. The Daily Telepgraph reports that some 20,000 members are removed from Facebook every day for lying about their age.

The solution to this problem is a tricky one. Under the cloak of anonymity that the Internet provides, it is difficult to monitor whether or not users actually meet the standard of age set in place by Facebook. Further complicating this issue are parents who give their underage children permission to join the site regardless of the rule.

America is not the only country affected. According to All Facebook, Australia is also working to crack down on underage use of the social network. They are looking to hire a policy person to mirror what is currently being done in Washington D.C. with regards to age regulation. Congressional activists, such as Senator Al Franken, are advocating important changes for the safety of young users.

According to Franken, the youngest users of Facebook are most vulnerable. He is asking the network to step up privacy and security for those users aged thirteen to eighteen for their protection. He aims to bring to light the dangers this demographic face online. Perhaps most concerning is that this call to action does not even take into account those twelve and under.

When the amount of information that can be displayed on Facebook is considered, it seems troubling to think of the ease at which predators might approach children of any age. This begs the question, is thirteen the appropriate age to start engaging in social networking? What age is appropriate? Do any of you have kids that are under thirteen who you allow on the site? Let us know!

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  1. by courtney

    On March 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    i have a 14 yr old that has a facebook which i watch. i only allow ppl ive met to b on it. now if she were to b one of the wilder teens i honestly believe she would not b allowed to have one…..

  2. by Dena

    On March 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I allowed my 14 year old to get a facebook account when she turned 13, and I closely monitor it. My 11 year old daughter begged me to let her have one and I told her she has to wait until 13 also. I know so many of my friends that have let their kids lie about their age to get an account and I think it is very wrong. Not only do I feel that under age 13 is too young, it is a rule that facebook has set up, and what are parents teaching their kids about breaking rules? If I can lie about my age for facebook, what’s wrong with lying in other circumstances?