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AIBU/WWYD Facebook for kids

(124 Posts)
Niceguy2 Fri 07-Jan-11 16:55:42

OK, some time ago my son's (DS9) primary school sent out a sternly worded letter about kids having Facebook accounts and how they'd be going around checking and reporting whichever child they found with one.

I dismissed it at the time because a) my son didnt have one. & b) I hate the whole ban them philosophy anyway since I believe it often just makes things harder.

Anyway. Wind on 6 months and last night I discover that my son bless him has created his own facebook account and has been very enterprising. Some detective work and a bit of hacking by me and lo & behold him and some school friends have set themselves up. Most of them (not all) have changed their names. So my son name are a random letters. Some friends are like "Wayne Roony"

Everything looks fairly innocent and the snippets of conversations I've tracked down are all just kids chattering.

I haven't confronted him yet as I want to gather up as much info as possible. I could report the whole lot of them to the school. On the other hand, the fact he has a FB account actually doesn't bother me too much as long as I know the fact he has one, am a friend and I know the password.

To me, the secrecy is the issue. Had anything untoward have cracked off, he can't come to me for help since I wasn't supposed to know in the first place.

AIBU to ban him or AIBU not to but prefer to have it out in the open rather than in secret?

charliesmommy Fri 07-Jan-11 16:57:56

have it out in the open, and then you can monitor his activity

you cant blame kids of every age for wanting to be on facebook, but parents should be facebook savvy themselves so they can get around the site and know how to snoop IMO..

Niceguy2 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:00:46

Charliesmommy, Thats what I am erring towards. But I know this has been discussed about before on AIBU and lots were very against allowing kids.

Just trying to see if i feel any different now its no longer a hypothetical discussion for me.

2shoes Fri 07-Jan-11 17:02:14

how can the school ban kids from doing something at home?
I would let him have it, but make you a friend so you can access his page.

CubaCat Fri 07-Jan-11 17:04:19

It's a tricky one. The age for a FB account (as I'm sure you know) is 13, and I personally wouldn't like my DS to have an account at the age of 9, but like you say, he could just get another one set up - and be even more sneaky about it.

Not sure if letting him stay on FB is a good idea though, as it shows him that although there are age limits for things, you (as a parent) are ok with him breaking them. Which (for me personally if it were my DS) would worry me as he got older, in that he might think it's ok to drink early, play 18 games, have sex etc, before the appropriate age, and that I would think it's ok.

Then there is the question of the other kids' parents - do you tell them or not?

You say the school recently sent out letters - could you approach the school with your concerns and ask them to send another letter out, or have a special assembly, saying that they know certain pupils have FB accounts and they know who these kids are, but want to give them chance to be responsible and close their accounts. If this is not done within 7 days (or whatever), the pupils involved will be punished, or named and shamed - whatever they think will work. Plus maybe an assembly or lesson about the reasons behind internet safety/reasons for age limits.

usualsuspect Fri 07-Jan-11 17:05:28

I always think that if you ban fb and the kids are computer savvy ,which most are these days ,they will set up secret accounts..much better to have an upfront and open account that you can monitor

charliesmommy Fri 07-Jan-11 17:10:27

With so many kids having access to the internet apart from on the home computer, it is very easy for them to do stuff without your knowledge.

The more you ban it, the more they will be devious and hide what they are doing from you.

There are a lot of games on facebook that appeal to kids (farmville for a start), and it is not going to go away.

My idea (if I were Facebook) would be to allow kids on there, but have some sort of FacebookJnr which would restrict a lot of the things that over 13's have access too.

We live in a country where it is legal to have sex and drive before you are 18, but not vote till you are 21, so not all age restrictions are common sense. I think parental guidance is more important when it comes to facebook.

penguin73 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:11:44

or much better to warn them of the dangers, explain your reasoning and reconsider when he is an appropriate age then be a parent and expect him to follow your instructions or impose sanctions if he doesn't. 9 is far too young to cope with the amount of bullying/unsolicited approaches/uplifting of personal info that goes on on Facebook.

seeker Fri 07-Jan-11 17:13:05

The age limit is 13. Oh, sorry, 1 forgot, that's for other people's children isn't it?

Eglu Fri 07-Jan-11 17:13:18

I wouldn't let him have one now, purely because he has gone behind your back. I think he needs punishing for that.

Niceguy2 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:16:54

Actually I love both the Facebook Jr idea and Cubacat's for the school to say to the kids delete them. That way those parents who know can ignore them if they feel its appropriate and those who've done it in secret may crap themselves!

Niceguy2 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:17:47

Oh Eglu don't worry. There will be a sanction for going behind my back. Only reason I haven't busted him yet is so I can see how far/deep it runs and to consider my response.

Hulababy Fri 07-Jan-11 17:20:00

Fb is for age 13 and over. in order to get an account he has lied. I'd be cross at him for doing this as would also be monitoring his Internet use much more closely in future. Chances are at 9y they do not have a clue about privacy settings other, shown by the fact that you have traced them.

Hai1988 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:23:00

There is an age limit of 13 for a reason, so that fact your son is 9 sort of gives you the idea that he shouldnt be on it.

There is a problem of cyber bullying that happends on fb so for that reason i would not like my young child to be on fb under 13.

I mean my SIL is 16 and in the past has suffered severe bullying on fb, so i would keep you DS away from fb as long as you can tbh.

JingleTits Fri 07-Jan-11 17:34:26

I dont see the problem with kids having fb at all as long as you make sure all the settings are secure and know all the people on his list of friends.

Talk to him about always being upfront and if he gets a friend request from someone he doesnt know properly to not accept it.

Also if there is an inappropriate questionaire they can do like "whats my swear word" etc tell them that under no circumstances are they aloud to do them.

Two of my kids have it DD 12 and DS 10 and have had for a couple of years. I make sure all the settings are secure and no one can see thier profile unless they are friends with that person. I have there passwords and they know i check to make sure everything is as it should be.

Simple, dont know why everyone gets so PC about it really as long as the parents are activly envolved..........

seeker Fri 07-Jan-11 17:35:31

He is 9. The age requirement is 13. He lied to you and lied about his age. What is there to consider?

JingleTits Fri 07-Jan-11 17:36:44

OP has already said she will deal with the Lying part.

JingleTits Fri 07-Jan-11 17:39:16

well said charliesmommy smile

musicmadness Fri 07-Jan-11 17:40:46

I'd let him keep it on the condition that he accepts you as a friend and you have the password. I think i'd ban him for a couple of weeks though for going behind your back - or another suitable punishment for the deception.

JingleTits Fri 07-Jan-11 17:41:24

sorry he will deal with the lying part

charliesmommy Fri 07-Jan-11 17:42:37

Bullying is far more likely to happen to the over 13s though I would have thought, whose parents would have a lot less involvement in their childs facebook activities.

At 9yrs old, a parent would have an awful lot more control over their childs friends in real life, as well as internet ones.

My main concern would be that I dont think it is good for a child to be exposed to the level of swearing and adult conversation that often appears on peoples walls, even if it is not the 9yr olds friend who is doing it.

But I can not see any harm in a child having a facebook account, with only sensible relatives and real life close friends/schoolmates as friends, and with the security settings monitored and set by the parent, who would instantly see any unusual friend requests or other activity.

cumbria81 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:46:07

Surely the age limit of 13 is completely arbitary, at least in this country? Make your own decisions based on your own child. You know him best. If you think that it's ok and he will not misuse it, then I can't see any problem.

The only potential issue is if other parents who don't want their kids on FB find out you were "in on it" and didn't say anything. But that's their problem!

Shewhoshallnotbenamed Fri 07-Jan-11 17:46:14

Hi, I'm a newbie - be gentle please (is that just asking for trouble wink)

My DD who is younger than 9 has a FB account, however I have reasons other than her social networking, for allowing her to be on there.

We have extended family who she likes to keep in touch with - some aged under 10 and others in their teens.

In all honesty, she can only use it with me sat next to her and she likes to look at her cousin's pictures more than anything. I have her password, she isn't computer savvy enough to use it on her own. She was desperate to be on there and I couldn't see the harm - as long as I had control of it.

Not sure how I'll feel when she's a bit more computer literate, will address that as/when it happens.

I would be upset about the lying if I was the OP, but I would insist on knowing the password and being a friend rather than banning him - agree completely with others who say it will make it all the more alluring.

FabbyChic Fri 07-Jan-11 17:46:29


I agree with Jingle Tits, tell him you know about it and ask him why he did not tell you, although that is pretty obvious because you would have said no.

I would allow him to keep it but you be a friend and monitor it, at least then you can sit next to him sometimes whilst he is on there.

Children grow up far beyond their actual years nowadays due to technological advances.

I never has a computer at 13 let alone 9, but if I had had I'd have done the same as your boy.

It is not the biggest crime of the century.

YOu should like a good mum, don't take all the but but comments at face value.

We all bring up our children differently, and we don;t all have to agree.

FabbyChic Fri 07-Jan-11 17:47:09

Not you should that is you SOUND like a good mum.

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