Zuckerberg Says Parents Shouldn’t Be Banning Kids From Facebook, Of Course
Mark Zuckerberg, a man with what one might call a vested interest in the continuing success of Facebook, has some advice for parents regarding social media activity. It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that he does not advocate banning teens from Facebook, and I agree. However, I don’t think he quite hit the nail on the head with the reasons he states for understanding why parents are nervous. Yesterday, a woman at a town hall-style Q&A asked Zuckerberg how he would handle his own teen on Facebook and this was his response. From Today.com:
Zuckerberg took the question in good humor. Though he has no children himself, he said that if he did, he would not ban socialÂ networksÂ or technology.
“I think sometimes society has a bit of an overbearing attitude where we treat children as if they don’t know how to do stuff, when sometimes they’re more sophisticated than you could ever imagine,” he said. “I would want my children to useÂ technologyÂ because it’s one of the ways that you become literate and develop the skills that you need to for the modern world.”
Believe me, Mr. Zuckerberg- I am fully aware of how capable my kids are in regard to technology. My son is five but he remembers passwords for my iPad and iPhone and knows how to download apps. My issues with kids on social media have nothing to do with worrying they won’t know what to do. He does briefly touch on my actual concern:
He did, however, caution that bullying and misuse are real problems the company works to prevent, and that kids under 13 are not allowed to join or use Facebook.
I am still unsure that even 13 is old enough but I suppose it truly depends on the kid. If your child is still very immature at that age and you don’t trust their judgment, don’t worry about Zuckerberg’s thoughts and Facebook law- obviously, don’t let them have it yet. At this point, I have no idea when my kids will be ready for such things but I know I will not blindly let Facebook’s terms of service dictate how we handle it. Every kid is different and every house has different rules.
And as far as the bullying is concerned, I am no fool. I know that there are many avenues for bullying even without the internet and that even if I say “no” to Facebook, my teen could still sign up at a friend’s house and have an account without my knowledge. I guess as a parent, all I can do is educate my kids and let them know my views on social media. Telling them my worries and asking them how they would plan to handle certain scenarios will play into the decision to grant them access to social media. And of course, the internet will be a whole new ballgame by the time this is an issue for us as we all know that the internet changes with the wind. In even two years, things could look very different so to say now what I will do in five years when my daughter is in middle school would be silly. Like all things parenting, we need to let our instincts (and our kids) guide us. Not Mark Zuckerberg.