Facebook should be available to under 13s

(37 Posts)
Euphemia Tue 24-May-11 13:23:39

So says Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Then again, he would, wouldn't he?

There may well be an educational benefit to becoming web wise, but I think Facebook is just too dangerous a place to do it. If I can see teachers from DD's school in various states of undress/inebriation because I am a Friend of a Friend of theirs, then DD is likely to be able to access some dodgy stuff.

BadRoly Tue 24-May-11 13:29:20

I think it should be. I went on an internet safety talk the other week run by variuos agencies including CEOP. Prior to going I had been very anti it.

Apparently, the reason under 13's aren't allowed is to do with advertising laws in California where FB is based (I am happy to be corrected but this is how I remember it). When you go on FB you have to give your DoB. Theoretically, the advertising that then targets you is age/gender based. So like I have Boden ----> now.

So if you set up a false FB account for a 10yo giing them a 16yo DoB, they will have adverts targetted at a 16yo...

However, the same talk also advised against parents letting their children use their accounts as it can look suspicious if an adult has a lot of children as friends!

Hulababy Tue 24-May-11 13:31:34

Why doesn't he introduce a more managed, child friendly version? I can see some benefits but with no moderation I am nt keen.

Euphemia Tue 24-May-11 13:34:58

I don't see what would stop any old weirdo joining such a site posing as a child.

RobF Tue 24-May-11 14:33:07

What need do Under 13s have for Facebook? They should be playing outside with their friends, not cooped up inside talking to them on the internet.

Hulababy Tue 24-May-11 14:34:39

The two activities are not exclusive tbf RobF. Would you feel the same about a child choosing to read occasionally too?

wannaBe Tue 24-May-11 14:35:33

no you're wrong. the reason why under 13s are not allowed on facebook is because of COPA (children's online privacy act) which exists in the US and basically makes it illegal for any site to gather personal information from children under thirteen.

Under 13s have no need for facebook.

Miggsie Tue 24-May-11 14:37:29

Our child protection act has quite a lot to say about the storing of children's data as well.

jackstarb Tue 24-May-11 18:16:17

There are an estimated 7.5million under 13's already on Facebook. But because they have to have a fake DOB is difficult to protect them properly.

IMO - FB is what you make it. If you and your family and friends use it regularly and you insist that your dc has you plus one or two other reliable adults as friends - then you can monitor what they get up to. Of course that restricts the adult's FB activities and use of bad language.smile

If you are not comfortable using FB - then even 13 might be too young for your dc's.

MilaMae Tue 24-May-11 18:37:03

Who on earth would have time to continually police their under 13 kids on Facebook? That's right nobody so what a ridiculous idea.

jackstarb Tue 24-May-11 18:45:23

Mila - if you are already using it and checking in once a day anyway - it's not that difficult.

As I say - it's what you make of it.

breadandbutterfly Tue 24-May-11 18:50:49

No way - I'm with the poster above who said kids should be playing with real friends not collecting imaginary ones.

Goblinchild Tue 24-May-11 18:53:23

It ios though, parental indiscretion is the only bar for most.

MilaMae Tue 24-May-11 18:55:29

It's too late if a 7 year old has read something he/she shouldn't.Kids can be cruel,older siblings can be cruel,kids are clever,kids like to hide behind their keyboard and show off. Sorry but Facebook is not a check once a day safe environment for the under 13s.

I've heard awful Facebook problems from friends with older kids,no way do I want my under 13s exposed to bullying,foul language,picture posting etc.

Then we get onto the seemingly addictive continual banal Facebook posting that I know sooo many adults seem to spend hours doing. If adults aren't equipped with keeping it to the odd post I doubt under 13s will be.

I'm not a fan.

MilaMae Tue 24-May-11 18:58:16

I'm also with the poster who said kids shouid be out playing with their real friends.

Kids get precious little time to play as it is,they need to loose yet more time to Facebooking like they need a hole in their heads.

roisin Tue 24-May-11 19:10:55

ds1 wasn't allowed FB a/c until he was 13. ds2 is now 12 and doesn't have an account, though all his friends to. Tbh I'd be happy for him to have one now, with tight privacy settings - ds1 has been very responsible with his, and the kids here don't seem to use it for bullying and so on.

It would be a good way for ds2 to keep in touch with mates, plus old friends from his primary, and new friends he will meet on camp this year.

But I can't bring myself to gainsay all the internet safety stuff he's had from us and school by condoning him entering a false dob in order to get an account.

jackstarb Tue 24-May-11 19:21:53

I don't know if there's evidence that FB is replacing outside activities. It's just as likely to be replacing tv and video games. Communicating with friends (however banal) is surely better than watching crap TV or stuck on the PS3.

But yes - I would rather my dc's were outside playing with friends. However, it already seems that children are beginning to organise their social life using FB.

It's a balance between controlling the use and giving them some exposure to social media. It's highly likely that social media (probably FB) will be the primary method of (remote) communication for our dc's generation by the time they are adults. Certainly e-mail is a dying technology.

I'm not much of a FB user - but I've been making more effort lately. I see it as part of my role as a parent. I'd rather understand it myself and help them to use it sensibly and securely, than wait until I have little control over what they do and leave them to work it all out for themselves.

exoticfruits Tue 24-May-11 19:23:52

Keep them off as long as possible-stick to real friends.

jackstarb Tue 24-May-11 19:45:29

I think you should restrict you dc's FB friends to people they know in real life - ideally until they are 16 (unless they have a good reason and clear it with you).

The whole 'collecting friends' thing is best avoided.

Yukana Tue 24-May-11 21:39:19

It would go against laws in America (I can't remember the name, but they refuse to let under 13 year olds use sites like Facebook). To be honest I agree, I think facebook was a site intended to be for older teens and adults, not children.

Besides, children don't need to use Facebook and I don't think it's safe enough for them to use. And that's coming from someone who knows the internet almost inside and out.

greencolorpack Wed 25-May-11 10:50:48

My children all have Facebook, they lied about their DOB. A lot of their school friends do it too. Before they did, we talked to them for ages and ages about internet safety. They know to only add friends they know in real life and to be suspicious about anyone attempting to befriend them that they don't know. My ds (10) has been sensible and wouldn't add my dd's violin teacher because he "doesn't know her", which is fair enough. Often the children are not that good about logging out so when they leave the computer I have a quick look around their pages and email just to see everything's okay. I had to tell dd not to go onto the "Merlin" page and say "I like this!" because she's then in a forum of complete strangers making it pretty obvious she's a little girl. I said like things and look at things but DON'T click on the "like" button or post on the front page of those interests. She knows now to leave them alone.

My ds had a school girl friend on there posting answers on one of those stupid quizzes, and it caused a box on his page to say "C answered a question about E, would E be good at kissing?" I talked to ds about it, and he was deeply offended about it, and he emailed the girl and said, Please do not use my name in that quiz or I will unfriend you. She didn't, she carried on answering far-too-adult questions about him and others, and so ds unfriended her. Apparently she has been pestering her to friend him again, but he won't. I admire my ds's willingness not to put up with that kind of rubbish.

I've told the children in no uncertain terms to stay well away from either bullying or being bullied. I've been a victim of cyberbullying myself and it was deeply horrible and scarring, so I've said if anyone is bringing nastiness from the playground home, then keep evidence and you can take it to the police. And conversely remember that if you say nasty things in the playground you've got plausible deniability, but cruel words written on a computer screen and sent constitute evidence that can be held against you in a court of law so DON'T DO IT, if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing, and if a friend becomes an enemy then for goodness sake unfriend them quick on Facebook. So I believe they're going into the online world with their eyes open.

We moved a couple years ago, hundreds of miles, so Facebook is a nice way for the children to still be in touch with their old school friends.

izcullen Wed 25-May-11 11:05:26

MY DS (who's nearly 8) can go on Fronter, a sort of school version of FB if he wants to connect with his friends outside of school. It has a virtual classroom, email and chat, but is limited to the kids in his class. I think this is much more appropriate than giving him access to FB. Luckily he's not that interested in the computer except to play on Club Penguin or look at Star Wars related stuff. So yes, I think there are other online places that are more appropriate for littlies to congregate, should they be so inclined.

That said, I have a page set up for my DD - but she's only 18 months so doesn't actually use it!

ScousyFogarty Wed 25-May-11 11:19:54

I think Facebook has some dangers for the young

caughtinanet Wed 25-May-11 11:27:55

Do the posters who say children should be outside stop their own children from watching TV ?

Of course children should play outside but there's time enough in a week to do both, the child who does swimming training before school may well use FB to keep in touch with his swimming club and general swimming type interests after 7pm. Its a daft arguement to use against FB.

The age of 13, for whatever reason it was orignally set, is just arbitary. A responsible parent should be capable of making a decision for their own children, a child doesn't suddenly become less at risk on their 13th birthday. Let each parent decide for their child.

greencolorpack Wed 25-May-11 12:25:34

I agree, caughtinanet. I think the dangers lie in "too much". Too much of anything is bad for you. If my children were on Facebook from 3pm til bedtime, then that would be terrible. They tend to get ten twenty minutes or so, before I remember and chuck them off the computer.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now