Childrearing

Mommyish Poll: If Facebook Allows Users Under 13, Will You Be Signing Your Tween Up?

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Well, perhaps Mark Zuckerberg learned that principals were threatening expulsion for kids under the age of 13 who dared to have a Facebook account or maybe he’s just following through on earlier statements showing his support for younger users. Either way, it sounds like the social media giant is getting ready to integrate younger kids into the popular platform.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is getting ready to open its doors to younger kids, though with plenty of parental controls to keeps kids safe. From the sounds of it, their approval of tween users might just be catching up with the times. Apparently plenty of parents are on board already. “The survey found that 55% of parents of 12 year olds reported their child has a Facebook account, and 82% of those parents knew when their underage child signed up. Ms Boyd also found that 76% of those parents helped their children set up an account.”

News like this makes me happy that my daughter is only four. At least I have a few more years before I have to worry about her chatting with her classmates online. Honestly, the very thought of worrying about this issue makes me feel just a tad bit older than I did 15 minutes ago.

But whether I want to think about it or not, when to let your kids join social media is a problem that plenty of parents face. We want to be realistic, but we also all know the dangers of cyber-bullying and online predators, not to mention the whole time-suck issue. Parents considering the issue have to worry not only about their individual child’s maturity level, but also the types of influences they’ll be chatting with late into the night.

Personally, I remember hitting AIM Instant Messenger with my girlfriends in middle school. I’m pretty sure we even trolled AOL chat rooms when we stayed up late during sleepovers. I’m not sure that it did much other than teach us random internet acronyms. A/S/L anyone?

Once my daughter hits middle school, I’m sure that she’ll be ready to start exploring social media as well. And while I don’t think that I would’ve helped her lie about her age to set up a Facebook profile, I do think that if there’s a system in place for young kids, I’ll let her get involved.

What about you? Would you let your tweens sign up for Facebook? Take our poll and explain why or why not in the comments.

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(Photo: Bobby Deal / RealDealPhoto/Shutterstock)