Lifestyle | Parenting

What Age Should Kids Have A Facebook Account?

My daughter {6 years old and in Grade 1} came home from school today with 2 classmates’ full names on a piece of paper. She hands the paper to me and said,
“they asked me to add them as their friends on Facebook”.
I was in shock!

To begin, let it be known that my daughter is not on Facebook. I have, in the past, allowed her to play supervised games of Fishworld, via my own account. Hubby {who works away from home, for very long stretches of time} had played games with her. It was their ‘little thing’ to do together once a week, to send each other gifts and brag about the fish they had. In any case, my daughter is not on Facebook, nor any other social networks.

First of all, facebook requires that a person be at least 13 years of age, to have an account. Bear in mind, you just have to check a little box saying you are above the age, and you are in. And, we all know some one under that age, on Facebook.

Yet 6 years old?!

I know I’ll sound so ‘old’ and ‘uncool’ by saying this, but there’s all kinds of pervs and inappropriate content online: links which contain viruses, others’ very inappropriate photos {WHY do people post such inappropriate photos on Facebook? But, that’s another rant, for another post}, foul language and anything and everything in between.

When it comes to Facebook and kids, parents can: monitor usage, scope out the friends’ list, make a set of demands {befriending only those you know}, befriend the kids themselves and even sign in occasionally and look around. This is something that I have familiarized myself with, when the day came when my daughter was ‘connected’ and more computer savvy {aka, that day way in the future}. I really didn’t think I’d have to worry about these things so soon! What happened to 6 year olds playing outside, running free, playing tag, riding bikes – not ‘poking’ others online!

6 years old…Wowzers, this is all coming too fast for me!

{as I throw a barbie in her hands and yell, “Be 6!”}

At what age do you think kids can have a Facebook Profile?

~

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38 Comments

  1. Wow, that makes it so real! My DD just turned 10 and still does not have a FB account. I just don’t feel she needs one and, honestly even older kids/teens get themselves in trouble with social networking sometimes.

  2. YOWZERS is right! Ohmigosh! Officially you aren’t supposed to have an account until you’re 13. My daughter is 11 with some friends who are on facebook, and I won’t allow her an account yet. I’d have been shocked too, girlfriend! It’s crazy to let your little people loose on Facebook. WOW!

  3. I am just going to be blunt here – some people are stupid! As my husband says – “You do not have to be smart to get through life, you just cannot be stupid” – Sadly many are though!
    What about the advertisments along the side that I can find offensive myself – their little eyes do not need to see that. You can “adjust” it as I have, but come on! Why would you want another task to have to monitor all of it!
    Elementary/primary children do not need FB accounts. Period.

      1. There is a little “x” to the right of each ad, just click and then it will ask you why you do not like that ad and you just click the reason – super easy! Hope this helps ~ God Bless.

  4. I didn’t allow my daughter on until she was 13 in December. Now I wish I had made her wait longer. 13 is early enough.

  5. That’s crazy! I can’t believe MULTIPLE 6-year-olds in her class have accounts! My son will definitely be waiting! I would NEVER allow a 6-year-old to have a Facebook account. Like you said, there are way too many pervs and stuff on the internet just waiting to chat to poor unsuspecting children! There’s no reason my son can’t chat to those he wants to through my monitored page – then he’s talking to people I approve of and talk to. I don’t feel this is sheltering him – it’s protecting him from the obvious dangers.

    Plus, like you said – it’s so simple for them to accidentally download a virus or click on spam! Why would you want to open your computer to that?

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  7. My kids have to wait until they are 13 too. My son is 15 and for his 13th birthday he got a facebook account! Cheapest b-day gift ever:-) My daughter is 12 right now and has been asking for an account for a few years now. A number of her friends have one already from ages 9 and up. I think the longer the better, the less I have to monitor online. Even with my son, I still monitor his account regularly, and I probably will until they leave the house!!

    1. Plus, it’s so addicting, Ruth.
      I can just imagine her {or any other child} neglecting other things to go online. I’d rather her go play with friends and do crafts, thank you!
      🙂

  8. Wow – this is such a dilemma for me, and mine isn’t even a year yet!

    Sometimes I wish I could shield her from stuff like this altogether (though I know that would be implausible and not best for her), but I have already begun the attempt at leading by example (cut FB ‘friends’ down from 200 to 54 – people I actually know and interact with on a regular basis; deleted anything I could that gives out too much information, etc.)

    All of it scares me though – when should she have a cell phone, when can she be online on her own, how can I teach her the best way to protect herself…but I suppose I can be happy that I do think of those things instead of just allowing my 6 year old to have a social media account! 🙂

  9. Gee wiz! That is too young! My niece was able to get an account last year when she turned 15. I don’t think I could let my kids on there so young.

  10. I think you should at least be in high school 14/15-ish, if not a little older to have a facebook, but that’s just me! Definitely not younger than 13 though *shakes head* I think some parents just use the internet as a babysitter, so they aren’t bothered by their kids. My mom has been that way with my sister, but fortunately I am 10 years older than my sister, so I’ve been able to monitor her internet activity for several years now.

  11. Maybe I am the exception but my daughter is 15 and one of my sons is 11 and they have FB accounts. I monitor who they are friends with and what is said or posted. There schools and classrooms have accounts so that they can keep up with projects and assignments. They are not on FB everyday, but they play games and talk to their friends and relatives that live far away when they are not doing schoolwork or sports.

  12. Society is changing and is very frightening and so many parents have a disconnect with their children in part due to all of this technology. My children are allowed to get a fb account when they are 13. It’s like a rite of passage. I only have one over this age, but I have his password and am able to monitor what he is doing. My 12 year old has been begging for a couple of years, but i think it is important to have a set time so it is not arbitrarybetween the siblings. I also have allowed them at 10th birthday to get an email account. My 15 year old just got his first cell phone and that was hard for me, but necessary in certain ways….

    1. Another good topic, tina – email accounts. I didn’t even consider that one! Yikes, something else to worry about!

  13. wow! 6 years old having an facebook account?..crazy! I just recently broke down & let my 11 yr old have one,hes been bugging for couple years,so I finally caved in and let him have one,,but I have his password,and checks up on him all the time! 🙂 Most of his friends have had facebook for couple years now tho..!

  14. Sadly, I am not surprised! The 1st and 2nd graders we know have cell phones too, who are they calling? You are in 1st grade what do you have to talk about? As far as any type of social media I think once they become an official teen, like 13yo or once they are mature enough. I’m probably the only person not on facebook, so I just don’t get the novelty.

  15. I have younger siblings and from what I know – many kids get facebook at 6+, but they mostly use it to play games. They really start to use it at 10-11. Same with cell phones, about 10. I was shocked to!

  16. Oh geez. I have nieces (only one of which JUST turned 13) who have been on facebook for years. When I gently told their mom that the minimum age was 13 she said she just recently found that out herself but oh well, it’s okay, she is a friend on their account so she can monitor them. Yes but that only monitors her correspondance, not the innapropriate quizzes they are taking.

    A child can see their friends at school or during playgroups or use the phone like we used to do. Facebook is for adults to reconnect with those that don’t live nearby anymore or who do but they don’t have time to see as much. And for family. My girls can have an account when they are 13 and no sooner. I really don’t think a 13 year old needs on either but we are at least going to follow the rules. How do you allow your child to lie about their age to join facebook but then tell them the truth is important and rules are meant to be followed??

  17. 6? Wow! Our daughter had wanted a facebook account for awhile…We told her that they only allow 13 and up on there. As you said, anybody can click that box, but we wanted her to know that we would follow the rules. 🙂 She turned 13 in December but we still haven’t let her have an account. She actually hasn’t even asked in awhile. I just don’t really see a need for her to have one at this time. She sees her friends every day at school and can talk and text with them. My biggest concern at this age is whatever drama could come up. People feel a lot more comfortable saying whatever they want online…kind of gives you a sense of protection not being face-to-face or a voice on the phone.
    So, for now, we choose not to let her have one. If she ever does have one, we will require full access.
    I have let my 7 year old son play some of the games on my facebook account. I make sure the chat is turned off (not that I expect someone to say anything inappropriate, just a precaution). and I am with him or nearby while he’s playing.

  18. Never. lol. I don’t even want one, but it does come in handy on occasion. My poor kids. I might let them get an email address when they’re 30….

  19. No way! Until a child is old enough to make good decisions on their own, based on when you think they are mature enough, this is way too risky. There are always security settings that change on it and even adults last week had accounts hacked into that posted spam all over websites in their names. I would not want something like this to happen to a child. Children grow up so fast on their own it seems so why do some parents want to rush them? I don’t know if parents are just naive or don’t care. There are so many cute sites made just for kids that are geared to their age that give them experience on the computer without exposing them to the world like Facebook.
    If your child asks why not tell them because you are the meanest mom in the world. This poem has always been a favorite of mine when my kids were growing up and I was constantly telling them no they couldn’t do what their friends were doing. http://www.motivateus.com/stories/meanest.htm

    1. That is a wonderful poem, Dianne – I am indeed, such a mean Mom!
      I just had a thought, Facebook for kids… I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out with a wee {kid-friendlier} version, for kids.

  20. I never thought I would be the type of parent who allowed their 6 and 9 year olds to have Facebook accounts, but I did, and I wrote about it recently too at
    http://www.finolablog.com/2010/12/kids-and-social-media.html

    For me it is about keeping in touch with family far away, and for letting them explore social media while I can still keep a watchful eye on everything that my kids do online. I can totally see both sides of this one though – great topic 🙂

  21. My neighbor’s kid keeps trying to “friend” me. I’ve hit ignore over and over with no results. Finally I messaged the mom saying that my Facebook page is for me and my peers, not 8 year olds. I hope it stops.

  22. Guess it depends to on the maturity level of the child. My daughter who’s 11 has come across issues with friends simply on msn (it’s easier to say harsh things on msn then to someone’s face). She has pushed for facebook however I am going to wait until she’s at least 13 and it will definetly be monitored. I have a friend who’s 13 year old daughter was exposed to some explicit and crude talk from a relative of a friend, you never know??? Nowadays kids are growing up way too fast. I would like to do what I can to try to keep her as innocent as possible for as long as possible.

  23. My girls are older and had FB accts around 13 yrs old. I also got an account. I was friends with most of their friends and we were all following each other. It wasn’t the same thing 5 yrs ago. It’s changed for the worse even in that time.

    Now I have 2 younger boys 11 and 7. My 11 yo has wanted a cell phone for about 3 yrs. Kids both my boys ages have cell phones. It makes no sense to me. The ONLY reason my girls had a SHARED phone when they were in their early teens was because of the school activities they were in. When they turned 16 and had a job they started paying for their phones if they wanted them.

    My viewpoint is that it’s not always about the age. It’s about their maturity level. Some kids will be fine just chatting with a few friends, but we know our kids. When they’re teens will they be sending nasty messages to others? Viewing pages that aren’t appropriate? I just think none of it’s necessary. As the kids get older it’s just going to get worse. That’s just a reality.

  24. My daughter’s friend set up a FB account for her, without my permission. Both girls are 11. I was NOT a happy camper!

  25. I am all for the 13 years that facebook says they have to be. Too many crazies out there in the world and tons of inappropriate things on facebook. Though with a strong case and a good kid I may consider younger under the rules that I control their account and they can only access it with me. Also privacy settings maxed out and all that fun stuff.

  26. I’m not a big fan of the law that forces Facebook to set the age limit they have. It gives parents zero recourse for teaching our children, who are growing up in a very different time than the people who made these laws, how to use social networks safely. I think we should have the right to decide when it’s right for our children. What that age is I don’t know. It could be 6 or it could be 16 – it depends on the child. But taking the control away from parents isn’t the right way to protect children. Instead, empowering parents with knowledge about privacy concerns and ways to balance time online and off seem a much better route for the children.

    I will allow my son to use Facebook before he’s 13. I *want* him to use it as soon as I think he’s ready – with very close monitoring and zero control until he reaches an age and an ability to make good choices. I have a few years before I take that step, though.

  27. I think the age to start using Facebook is 16. There is too many things happening to our children while using these social network.

  28. My son will be 6 in July and honestly I would have a stroke if he thought he could be on facebook. He knows that Daddy and I are on it, and he watches us play games, or socialize. But I know I have had friends post inappropriate things I didn’t want my boys seeing. I couldn’t imagine him having an account any time soon. I would say for sure not until 13, although I have a nephew who is much younger than that on it, and I think it is too young.

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