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What are people's thoughts about under-age use of Facebook?

(32 Posts)
mutha2two Tue 16-Aug-11 20:33:45

I have just received an email from 10 yo DS1's classmate (a very good friend of his) asking him to be a friend on Facebook. From what I can gather the minimum age to join is 13. For the moment I have not mentioned to DS1 that this email has come in. I have been slightly dreading the Facebook issue as I am going to have to do some fasttrack self-educating in terms of setting up the account with the right privacy settings, joining it myself etc. etc (not something I have a great deal of interest in I have to say - call me old fashioned but I like texting and emailing) Of course I want to make sure he's using it safely, but frankly I thought that was a couple of years away! Any suggestions as to how to I should tackle this? Anyone else been confronted with this dilemma?

thisisyesterday Tue 16-Aug-11 20:35:28

i would just ignore it for the time-being.

pmk1977 Tue 16-Aug-11 22:16:04

I'd ignore it too. I noticed the other day that one of DD1s friends is now on Facebook - they are 9! She has put in a false date of birth to get round the rules. If Facebook does become aware of it they will close the account but obviously someone would need to prompt them checking!

mercibucket Tue 16-Aug-11 22:23:47

The reason for the age limit is due to legal restrictions governing data protection for under 13's that's all - facebook isn't allowed to store their personal info. It's nothing to do with their online safety.can't say I'm rushing to let mine join though n think I'll get them to use nickname so not easily traced by future employers etc

mercibucket Tue 16-Aug-11 22:23:47

The reason for the age limit is due to legal restrictions governing data protection for under 13's that's all - facebook isn't allowed to store their personal info. It's nothing to do with their online safety.can't say I'm rushing to let mine join though n think I'll get them to use nickname so not easily traced by future employers etc

mutha2two Tue 16-Aug-11 23:01:35

Thanks all - in fact DS was looking over my shoulder and saw the email invite from his friend and I needn't have worried - he said he couldn't be less interested. grin Mind you, he's been on at me about an Iphone... that he can swing for from the rafters (he's getting my knackered old Sony Ericsson in the beginning of year 7 and no earlier). Roll on the next Tween challenge.....

kittensliveupstairs Thu 18-Aug-11 09:22:30

DD would kill (me probably) to have a FB account. I don't have one and DH (ICT teacher) has told us both of the many problems they cause amongst teens.
She had some friends of the same age who were on there, in fact I went into the spare room and found her and her friend trying to set up an account.
I was fucking angry a little vexed.
DD knows that she'll have to wait until she is 13, she is currently 10 so only three more years.

NettoSuperstar Thu 18-Aug-11 10:00:28

Dd's 10 next week and desperate for one.
The only net access we have though is exclusively mine.
Her best friend has it and I have let Dd look at it and comment on the odd photo, or upload photos on mine but that's it for now.
I won't be making her wait till she's 13 but I'm not ready for her to have it yet.

I recently got her a phone when I'd said not until high school but we moved house, a walk away from her best friend rather than three doors down.

lovemyboysandbeagles Thu 18-Aug-11 10:27:03

I let my DS1 have one at 11 (beginning of year 6), as he moved schools and wanted to keep in touch with his friends. He is quite mature for his age and very sensible. I have always had the password and made regular checks, although not as often now as at the beginning and more to check what others are saying / doing than to check on him. I only had a problem once when my SIL posted a video which I thought was not appropriate, my DH asked her to take it off and she wouldn't so we then made the rule of no adults (apart from me) as friends.

Now my DS2 wants FB (he is 10) and I am not sure as he is a) younger than my DS1 was and b) no where near as mature and more easily influenced. But it seems that more U13's than ever are on!!!

daisysue2 Fri 19-Aug-11 00:32:07

My dd 11 has one to keep in touch with her cousins. We defriended a few of them as they were too old and were posting inappropriate for my dds age and she is the one that is too young not them.

Everything that is posted on her wall or any messages come to my email account so I can check what is being posted and who is requesting to be her friend.

She can only go on when I put the password in and generally the only time she is on is to instant message her cousins who are on all the time and to play that game farmville.

She can only have friends who know her through my facebook account and they have to request to be friends and those emails come through me, she can't accept herself. She doesn't put her surname just her first and middle so that no one can track her down. Regularly I check her privacy settings.

I would rather she have it when she is quite young and isn't really that interest in it. Her friends talk about FB and she can say she has an account and isn't that interested in going on, which she really isn't. There's no mystery for her. In fact posting regularly would be too much effort.

Now her cousin who is the same age is completely addicted and goes on everyday and is obsessed with it, already says she couldn't live without Facebook. She is completely obsessed with friendships and who is going out with which boy. She has no real privacy settings and can invite anyone to be her friend.

Two 11 year old girls but both completely different.

twinklytroll Fri 19-Aug-11 00:44:28

Facebook cause no end of trouble with teenagers and therefore the longer you can keep them off the better. I would not let a child under 13 have an account

Geocentric Fri 19-Aug-11 02:42:22

But it isn't only about data protection, is it? I read somewhere its also to do with advertising laws in the US - lots of restrictions for under-13 advertising, and FB runs all sorts of adverts which are not age appropriate. Not sure if I remember this correctly...

DS is 8.5 yrs - not quite a preteen yet, but DH and I have agreed that he will need to wait until he is 13. Luckily he has shown no interest in FB yet, although my 9 yo niece has an account - I dread to think what she'll read if she goes into any of her father or uncle's posts on football nights!!!!

TheBride Fri 19-Aug-11 03:03:01

I dont understand why they all like it so much. I mean, it's just not that great (I am on it btw). I also thought they'd no way be interested in something that their mum is on. Clearly I have a long way to go in understanding the pre-teen mind grin

Is it so they can approach members of the opposite sex without actually having to speak?

bigscarymum Mon 22-Aug-11 11:18:50

DD uses it mainly for chat these days having had her fingers burnt. I am her friend but of course have no access to her chat. They all seem obsessed. Sigh.

roisin Mon 22-Aug-11 11:53:52

My sons were not allowed (by me) FB accounts when they were little.
IME the younger children tend not to be so sensible with it and there is a lot of bullying goes on.

By the time they are 13 they are wiser and at our school they've had a lot of teaching about internet safety/sensible behaviour as well. ds1 has had no problems.

I bent my rules for ds2 and he was allowed an account this summer (he was 12 in May). So far he's being very sensible with it, but I do monitor closely.

festi Mon 22-Aug-11 11:58:03

I think 8/9 is ok for facebook as long as you are the one in control of who they are friends with etc and you are around when they are on it.

ie no adult friends who swear or post unacceptable or inapropriare things and only kids you know of etc.

TheOriginalNutcracker Mon 22-Aug-11 12:02:17

Dd2 is 11 an has an account, but I know the password and she has to have me as a friend on there. Same rules aply for dd1 who is 13.

Ds is 8 and he isn't allowed to have one yet, although he has never asked anyway.

cheesesarnie Mon 22-Aug-11 12:05:30

dd is 11 and one of the only ones in her group of friends not to have it.
shes asked occasionally but isnt that bothered to be told no.

SoupDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 12:09:09

Ds1 and 2 have one and they are 12 and 10. I have access to their accounts. They don't appear overly interested in it now they have the accounts TBH. hey were told only to accept friend requests from people they actually know, rather than collecting friends of friends willy nilly.

I have a policy of not accepting any friend requests from their friends though.

Hulababy Mon 22-Aug-11 12:12:24

I ignore all friend requests from children - to be honest I coulnt this as anyone under 16y ish too, not just 13y - and I won't allow 9y DD to have a FB account either. I don't want children on my status; some of the older teens/early 20s are bad enough as it is!

DD has her own website that we made that she can add journalling/blogs too plus photos and videos. It is password protected and onlt selected family/friends can access it. She also has email. She uses them to stay in touch with family and friends from a distance.

Geocentric Mon 22-Aug-11 15:04:59

Problem with younger ones is that innapropriate remarks can be read even on trusted adults wall's. For instance, my DN (9) has her dad and two uncles (one is my DH) on her FB - I hope she's been told to ignore any football debates between them and their friends, as they can get quite sweary!!! grin

DH is very uncomfortable having her as a 'friend' but as they live abroad we felt we had to accept - keeping in touch etc, although she mostly uses it for Farmville.

festi Mon 22-Aug-11 16:32:12

In that case they shouldnt have her as friends Goecentric and knowing she is on there and they continue to get sweary anyway shows they probably talk like that around her. Im friends with my DN and I would consider that with anything I post, not that I would be swearing on FB anyway.

CheerMum Mon 22-Aug-11 16:40:51

my dd has had FB since she was 8. She uses it 99% to play the games (current fave is Yoville)because she used to play on mine but kept spending all my hard earned cafeworld money!

She has a few friends but never bothers to read her news or use the chat. I monitor her friend requests and she doesn't have any adults on there (because of the risk of swear words showing up).

I control all of her access/security and am happy for her to use it like this. (ducks down ready for flaming)

lovemyboysandbeagles Thu 25-Aug-11 13:30:49

I still haven't put DS2 on and he has asked again several times. There seems to be very mixed views & opinions on this as to what is the right thing to do, not legally speaking of course as we know the answer to that.

I think I will set it up for him later, BUT will have strict controls (stricter than DS1 as he is not as mature and more easily led).

I will set it up with my e-mail address, only first/middle name (as someone suggested) and I will log on and accept friend requests etc.

Some good thought and suggestions on this thread for what can be a very grey area smile

ragged Fri 26-Aug-11 16:51:06

DC have never asked about it, they have barely heard of FB. DC do have their websites & email addresses (which I don't check, admittedly blush but then again, DC hardly ever look at their email. DH has the occasional browse, and no dodgy stuff yet).

My gut feeling is that it's in the FB rules of use, you have to say your X yrs old to have a FB account. I don't care why those are the rules, they just are the conditions FB asks users to stick to. If you don't like the rules, then use another website (there are other social networking websites for preteen age). I just do not like colluding with DC that they can ignore the rules of use for a website just because they feel like it. So I am sticking to 13 and hopefully will find it easy to monitor a bit then, until they're 16, maybe.

And yes, I agree with all those that FB is nothing special or essential, too.

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