June 6th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

My View: My kids won't be on Facebook any time soon

Courtesy Heather ChapmanEditor's note: Heather Chapman is a mother of two and former newspaper and radio journalist who blogs at www.themothertongue.blog.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @mother_tongue.

By Heather Chapman, Special to CNN

(CNN) – In a move that has disaster written all over it, Facebook is exploring the idea of allowing children under the age of 13 to have accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. It seems no coincidence that they're trying to drum up new users right after a disappointing IPO, and the fact that those users are children is a bonus. Youngsters are more likely to be early adopters of new social media sites, so familiarizing them with Facebook good and early is a master marketing coup.

Of course, many kids are already on Facebook - some 7.5 million tweens, according to a 2011 Consumer Reports survey  - so this move is also an attempt to placate worried parents with stepped-up safety features and parent-linked accounts.

I appreciate that, but I still don't want my kids on Facebook yet. My 8-year-old son has begged for an account so he can play Farmville and write messages to friends, but I've remained steadfast: No Facebook till he's 13 and trustworthy.

Facebook can be a great way to connect with friends and far-flung relatives, but for now, he'll just have to visit or pick up the phone. It'll be good for him to practice interpersonal skills like observing body language and taking turns in conversation. And I would way rather he play games at the playground instead of sitting in front of Bejeweled Blitz all day while his muscles wither away.

Speaking of playgrounds: Facebook is mine. I connect with adult friends on there, and sometimes we say things that aren't appropriate for kids. I don't want my son to see my name tagged in a picture that says “It's wine o' clock somewhere!” and I wonder how much of a barrier I could put between my account and his if they're linked.

I'm also concerned that cyberbullying will become a bigger problem than it already is. Bullying peaks in late elementary and early middle school, and I have no doubt that inventive tweens will find ways to get around parent controls to talk smack about each other online. Supposedly, the parent-linked accounts will prevent that, but I'm betting that the kids most likely to bully are going to be the very ones who lack appropriate supervision.

Lack of supervision can breed even darker scenarios, too: Millions of kids bopping around on Facebook would be more than any pedophile could dare dream. Unless Facebook allows for stringent control of friend lists, private message settings and picture tagging - and parents take them time to monitor those settings - children could be ripe for the picking.

Some exceptionally mature children will be able to handle themselves just fine online, but kids in general just aren't web-savvy enough to discern who is safe to talk to online and who isn't. They're also not experienced enough to keep away from virus apps and pop-up ads.

Poll: Should kids younger than 13 be allowed on Facebook?

I allowed my son to play a browser-based game the other day. I was right next to him, but it wasn't five minutes before he squealed that he would win a million dollars if he could click on the dancing coin. I managed to grab his hand before he did it and lecture him about deceptive ads and viruses, but what if I hadn't been right there?

There are only so many teachable moments I'm willing to finance with a de-virusing visit to the Geek Squad.

I'm not the only one concerned. Members of the Congressional Privacy Caucus sent an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, according to Broadcasting & Cable, in which they sought specifics about how Facebook will comply with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and otherwise keep tween users safe.

It's an excellent letter, and I'll be waiting eagerly to read Facebook's response. In the meantime, if my son wants to play Farmville, he can go outside and feed the actual chickens in our backyard - and maybe bring a friend.

The opinions expressed are solely those of Heather Chapman.

Share in the comments: Will your younger-than-13 kids be on Facebook? Why or why not? How did you make the decision, and how do you explain it to them? Or, take our poll: Should kids younger than 13 be allowed on Facebook?

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Filed under: Technology • Voices
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. smiles

    Children should stay away from communication sites because they dont have good judgement. But a parent knows a child's maturity. If they are matue enough they should be granted permission but with rational restrictions.

    June 13, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  2. howard

    this annoyed me. i agree young children shouldnt use facebook. Better chance theyll get pedophile attention than have a conversation theyll remember for more than 2 hours. that being said- these opinions are obvious and not thought provoking. Also, get off other parents cases. If they wanna be a crappy parent thats their decision. Bubble wrap your kids head and call it a day.

    June 12, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  3. jim

    you grabbed your 8 year old and lectured him on being 8. nice.

    June 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  4. RhiRiot

    I'd make my daughter a FB account if she wanted one some day, but it would come with a long list of strict rules.
    #1: Its setup under an email that *I* setup and that only *I* have the password for.
    #2: Only I have the password for the account, so if she wanted to sign on, she'd have to let me know. If she became "savvy" enough to change the password somehow, I would get alerted via email, and the account would then go down indefinitely.
    #3: No other accounts may be created, I will check the history and activity, I dont need a program to know what's going on, on my computer. If there are, she will be banned from the computer.
    #4: When logging on, I get to review the friend requests she may receive and any messages she receives. (I won't actually read them, but I will monitor who is sending her messages)
    #5: I have the right to check her account whenever I want and question anything she posts if I see it's needed.

    I'm not a strict mom, but I too grew up in the age of AOL chat rooms, cyber-dating and pedos praying on the young via the internet, and I know 1st hand what a young teen will do when they are given the freedom to play on the web without beng monitored. I don't see the point in a child having a FB account especially when all the games can be played on the creator's website (most of the time). A teen I can understand, they want to fit in and stay connected, so if she can follow the rules (and I can enforce them), then I don't see the harm.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Bella

      Facebook is a good social networking site for people who have not talked to friends and family in a long time so I think it would be good to have a facebook... but facebook can also be dangerous... there are many strangers and i think parents should check their childs facebook to see who they are talking to. my family checks my facebook i have nothing to hide..

      June 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Person

    "Some exceptionally mature children will be able to handle themselves just fine online, but kids in general just aren't web-savvy enough to discern who is safe to talk to online and who isn't. They're also not experienced enough to keep away from virus apps and pop-up ads."

    Kids aren't web-savvy enough? And who is responsible for raising their kids? Eh? The parents. Obviously things like virus apps and pop-up ads are a problem, but this is one thing that parents should teach their kids in addition to things like "Stranger danger" and "Look both ways before you cross the street."

    And of course! if the parents don't think the kids have learned the lesson, then they shouldn't be allowed on the internet in the first place.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  6. John

    Internet and fb is a very good resource for science sites and if the parents give a dam about their kids they will pay attention to what they do online. It is not all evil. The kids today have much more access to science education using web properly. I am 54, we had ZERO computers and 7 tv stations, totally different world. We also had bad people. Same world same people, more tech.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Goducks73

      huh?

      June 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  7. diegohomans

    Saying that kids will be on Facebook anyway is not an argument for letting them. It's an argument for Facebook to forget about lowering the age and instead concentrating on how to enforce its own policy now.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  8. Lee

    I am 18 and i deleted my fb. i permanently deleted it, not the bs temporary deletion. facebook is addicting and a waste of time. People do not see the big picture.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  9. idunno

    I'm sick of all these stories on Facebook. Facebook was cool before it became a family place. You never hear about all the 'clean' posts, but everyone remembers the posts that got the neighbor kid fired, arrested or expelled. Twitter and Facebook is your life on display, and both have been called by public figures a "career killer", yet people continue to be idiots and post stupid things that get them in trouble. The Internet definitely isn't what it was 5 years ago. It's pathetic for anyone to sign up for an account and knowingly and willingly put yourself under a microscope to be judged. That's all it is, and nothing good EVER comes from Twitter or Facebook; only public apologies and trouble.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • idunno

      Look at Casey Anthony, harmless pictures of her partying with friends, but when she gets in trouble she's the worlds worst mom, an alcoholic, a chronic partier who can't control herself. You better pray you never get in legal trouble, you've already built a solid case against yourself by using Facebook.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  10. Peter Parker

    If one is truly worried about pedophiles they'd be careful around their own family members or any adults in a supervisory role in their community long before they should be worried about random strangers on the internet.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  11. Alexa

    In my opinion, this has nothing to do with parental supervision and sheltering your child.. it has everything to do with the fact that these kids are sitting inside on a computer all day. Make your kids go outside and play in the yard, play with the kids down the street, call friends to set up a play date on your house phone. Most importantly, allow your children to socially interact face to face. They need to develop these skills instead of learning how to communicate behind a computer screen. If this continues no one is going to know how to hold a conversation with someone sitting across the table from them. Lets ge real parents, what's so great about Facebook that your 8 year olds have to be on it...

    June 7, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  12. PumpNDump

    Facebook is for moms, losers and adolescents. End of story.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Alexa

      Amen

      June 7, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Craig

      so I guess your one of those losers than?

      June 7, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  13. Mazzata

    Fecesbook is little more than pablum for undeveloped minds.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • grandmatim

      Says the guy trolling CNN comments.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  14. Keel Hauler

    Even adults shouldn't be on Wastebook.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • petercal

      I totally agree!!! And kids! please....

      June 7, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  15. angel

    maybe it wouldnt be a bad idea to have facebook create social netowrk just for kids–age group 10-14 or something–where its just for kids-then when they reach "the age" they can go to the adult facebook–there are things i wouldnt want my 10 year old reading om FB-bad language-etc.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yea, with all the pedo-s.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Jamie

      I see your point and that's good in theory, but that actually would make it easier for pedofiles to find young children. They can easily lie, find a picture of a young child and start adding people to their "facebook kids" profile

      June 7, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  16. Susan @ Afford Your Passions

    My 12 year old son doesn't have a facebook account. He won't get one when he's 13, either. My house. My rules.

    Having said that, I'm on FB, but I don't post anything I wouldn't be comfortable appearing in print on the front page of, say, The New York Times. I don't allow anyone to tag me (I need to give permission first), but more importantly, I don't act in my own life in ways that would allow someone to take an embarrassing picture of me (something like a bad hair day might be the worst of my embarrassment).

    June 7, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Scoobie

      Can you be a little more paranoid Susan?

      June 7, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • chefdugan

      The fact that you take all those precautions speaks volumes about the risks. If you're so afraid why even bother going on to that arena for losers? The postings are pathetic as are the people who post them. Facebook is now our natioinal standard for being stupid.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  17. johnquepublique

    I don't see this mother as being protective...I see her as being smart about social media. Again, it's not a right, it's a privelage. Maybe the child could learn responsibility and maturity by following mom's rules. What a novel idea, right lib-turds???

    June 7, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  18. Surrender Dorothy

    This woman sounds like a good mother. She should give lessons to the many idiots out there who are breeding and have no common sense about raising children.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  19. snakes

    Total lack of parenting,trying to be buddies is killing our society. Thirty years of teaching has reinforced this to me. Most, not all though, have not been taught politeness or other basic fundamentals by parents that are ultimately responsible for their children. State mandated testing for would be parents should be required before reversing sterilization.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  20. Teh Kitteh

    "Millions of kids bopping around on Facebook would be more than any pedophile could dare dream. Unless Facebook allows for stringent control of friend lists, private message settings and picture tagging – and parents take them time to monitor those settings – children could be ripe for the picking."

    THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING FOR YEARS ON YOUTUBE! The big difference is that Youtube actually facilitates child predation by making it insanely difficult for online users to educate or warn kids of known pedophile account holders who befriend them, while routinely acceding to the predators' demands that information or videos about them be removed.

    As of the beginning of this year, Youtube's format has changed so that users' friends and subscribers are hidden from everyone. Predators can now contact underage children without interference from others who would try to prevent that, while Youtube no longer enforces the minimum age TOS.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  21. HURLCO

    Any parent that would let their kids under 13 have a Facebook account are idiots.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:21 am |
  22. AJD

    I have a different approach to parenting I guess. Instead of trying to shield my children from the realities of the world and what's out there, I allow them to see it and we talk about it, that it exists, why this or that is or isn't a problem, and how to deal with those things and what would be good choices in different situations. My children know what the "bad words" are and know that they shouldn't use them. They're going to hear them or read them places and because I haven't shielded them from them but instead talked to them about them, they don't repeat them or use them in their own conversations. I just allowed my daughter who's turning twelve in a month to have a facebook account. She got a friend request from someone she didn't know and asked me if I knew them. I did not. She said before I could even say anything "well then I'm not going to friend them then." I have found that talking to your children and not shielding them from the real world is a lot more effective than the opposite when it comes to teaching children about good choices and to make good choices on their own even when you're not looking over their shoulder.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • Mom of Three

      My kids get accounts at 8. I have their passwords and they know I can log onto their accounts at any time to see their messages. There is no implied privacy with their FB accounts. They are also locked down so that only friends can see them. If I don't recognize names on their friend lists, I can delete them. These are the rules, they are fine with them, and we're currently all engaged in a Pet City contest to see who can level up the most. People who don't understand the technology are often afraid of it. I remember these same arguments when the Atari 2600 came out.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:51 am |
      • Teh Kitteh

        So Mom of Three, you have rules for your under-13 kids to follow so they can (responsibly?) break other rules about minimum-age requirements? What's wrong with this picture?

        June 7, 2012 at 5:07 am |
      • diegohomans

        So, Motherof3, you are effectively modeling how to lie about your age on Facebook. When you find your 14yo daughter claiming to be over 18 on an adult dating site, you'll know she listens to you.

        June 7, 2012 at 7:47 am |
      • David

        You say, "these are the rules", but you broke a Facebook rule by letting your young kids have an account. What is this showing your kids, its OK to break a rule if you don't like the rule?

        June 7, 2012 at 9:36 am |
      • Alexa

        Hey, why don't you go play outside with your kids instead of keeping them inside to play computer games all day

        June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Michele

      I am with you. I've always kept an open door to my kids. It has made them more prepared and like you, they come to me with just about everything. I am not their puppeteer, I am not their buddy, I am their guide. If you think about it, Facebook was started by a kid for kids. Bullying happens as much and as nastily outside of social media. The difference is that when you can't see it in black and white, teachers and parents can pretend it isn't as bad and traumatic. Same with predators. I fund it interesting that this mother said she wants a wall between what is on her account from her children, don't let them know about wine with friends. I would actually worry more about career colleagues and potentially new employers seeing that then my kids.

      I don't condone a lot of the activity on Facebook or any other social media site, but I do recognize that is is only another vehicle for bad behavior and not the driver of bad behavior. Teach kids manners, respect, proper social inaction, how to distinguish good behavior from bad, and give them the guidance and skills to do the right thing. If you don't, they get to college where you have no control and aren't prepared for the real world. Don't wait until 13 to teach this, start from day one. You have a better relationship with your kids, and they learn to be successful and productive in life.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:45 am |
      • ADS

        Facebook was started by an adult for adults. College kids yes, but was not started for children. It was a way that college kids could keep in touch, meet each other, find dates, and post stuff about their outrageous parties. It was a frat thing, not for children.

        June 7, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • diegohomans

        Michele,
        "distinguish good behavior from bad, and give them the guidance and skills to do the right thing"
        Do you see the contradiction in this and teaching them to lie about their age?

        June 7, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You’re a fool if you think your kids aren’t using those bad words when you are not around.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  23. Flamespeak

    I don't think ANYONE should be on Facebook, including 13 year-old and younger children.

    This is just a personal opinion of mine, mind you, however, I fail to see any kind of benefit for making your daily activities available to everyone. A small clique of people might care, and odds are those are people you would talk to routinely anyway, but the cons far outweigh the pros in making such a thing public for anyone to read. This is all the more obvious with jobs starting to demand access to your facebook account to see what you do on your downtime. Maybe you thought it was funny to post a picture of you and a couple of friends getting tipsy and then drawing a dirty word on someone's head when they passed out. Harmless, right? It might just be the thing that let's an employer know you are not worth considering.

    On to kids though, the poll choices in a previous item on CNN really didn't capture my feelings on the subject well. It was either grouchy old-timer choices, utter consent, or monitoring the content. Kids are already massive targets for corporate advertisements and for pedophiles on the internet, this would just make it easier for the wrong kind of attention to be shown to children.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Erin

      You fail to see ANY benefit from Facebook? Last year I moved 7 hours away from my very large and close-knit family. I had Facebook before I moved, but have used it a lot more in the past year because it enables my family to keep in touch and see what I am doing(gardening, teaching, house projects) The people who post their every move and are constantly checking their damn phones for updates are why Facebook is seen as a waste of time.

      June 8, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  24. ii2bcnii

    Ur kids will be on, they just won't tell you.
    And its mainly because you are lame.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Zee

      Coming from a child of course.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:11 am |
  25. maryjones

    My daughter was cyber-bullied 4 student when they put her on one of the social networks because she would.t give up her seat to a mexican because were asigned by the teacher but she made they all have criminal records to follow.comthem in school for the rest of their lives

    June 7, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • ii2bcnii

      its the schools fault. They have the power to stop bullying simply by giving a shat. But since teachers are (insert insult about their low intelligence) they don't care. And justify it by telling themselves its not their place to stop it, or that they can do nothing.
      ITS CRAP
      BLAME THE TEACHERS

      June 7, 2012 at 3:04 am |
      • AJD

        No, what's crap is blaming the teachers for everything when most problems at school stem from the home. If you had ever actually been a teacher and walked in their shoes you would know better. Almost every effective means of discipline has been removed from the schools today leaving teachers with woefully few choices when it comes to dealing with bullying behavior. Much of the cyberbullying and also a lot of the "old fashioned" kind is done outside of schools and there really is nothing that teachers can do to stop it. Even in school, unless a teacher witnesses it themselves, there's not much they can do as it turns into a he said/she said type of situation unless there's hard evidence like a written note or injury. Even if they witness it, there's not a whole lot of options left to teachers and administration anymore as far as discipline goes....and the minute you try to discipline a child in school anymore, the parents come tearing into the school screaming like banshees that their precious child can do no wrong and threatening going to the media and lawsuits. Parents not doing their jobs is the REAL problem, not teachers.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:27 am |
      • diegohomans

        Many parents expect the schools to raise their children. First mistake. The schools' job is much narrower: to educate them in school subjects. The social part is up to us.

        June 7, 2012 at 7:50 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

        Schools like to whine about parents expecting them to raise their kids. It’s not our job! They say. But that doesn’t stop them from stalking children on Facebook and punishing them for events that took place off school grounds. The teacher hypocrisy aside, parents should be more involved. Both sides are to blame.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  26. Dino

    CNN has benn turning facebook into some kind of rite of passage with all the recent articles about what age you should be to use it.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  27. guest

    for now, it is a law to protect the children's privacy from being exploited by the marketing leeches. I hope the law doesn't get lobbied to change for the bloodsuckers.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  28. Penny

    My just turned 7 year old and my 10 yr old have both had accounts for about a year now. They have rules, games only and chatting with friends. Only games approved by me, only I can add approved friends, all chats are checked by me on a regular basis. If anything pops up that doesn't look right they consult me before clicking on it. No downloads. No inappropriate language on chat. I have made them unsearchable and have blocked all news feeds on their page except for updates on games they play. Even my own news feed does not go onto their page and their news feeds do not go on anyone's page. They enjoy the games and chatting with friends and have done both appropriately. My son has even told his own friends no swearin, on chat when they have slipped up. Technology is here to stay and when they are teenagers and it seems more invasive to monitor everything they do, I know that we have already talked in depth ab out cyber bullying, how 'talking about' a school mate behind their back with FB friends can actually turn into a form of bullying if it is taken too far. We have talked about scams and misleading marketing. When they are more independent on FB and other forms of technology, at least I know I have given them a good solid start and made them informed responsible users. Obviously all children are different but used responsibly and with consistent supervision from parents, it doesn't have to be a bad thing and can teach kids how to be responsible users of technology.
    I also practice what I preach, I don't use in appropriate language on my wall or in my chats and unsubscribe to newsfeeds of people who do. I check my news feed regularly and hide stories that are not appropriate for all users.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • guest

      they've had accounts on facebook? that's illegal

      June 7, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Tim

      "They have rules, games only and chatting with friends." What makes you think they won't break your rules when you have told them it's okay to break Facebook's rule to be 13 to have an account? You can't teach kids to break rules and follow rules at the same time, especially when they are 7 and 10. They won't know which ones are okay to break! My 12 year old daughter, who has lived in 4 different countries and has friends all over the world with whom she would like to be on Facebook isn't allowed to have an account until she is 13 because we feel teaching her about following rules is important.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:32 am |
      • Erin

        THANK GOODNESS there are still parents like you. I am incredibly concerned for this generation of children because so many parents do not set limits and instead care about being their child's friend instead of being a parent.

        June 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  29. tiddle

    as the kids would have it, this mother is a hypocrite, big time.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  30. Brian

    Facebook does not have to be what it is for most people; a waste of time. I am hesitant, but I am considering opening an account for my soon to be first grader. Her first friends will be her parents and her kindergarten teacher. In the beginning we will only add friends as long as the parents are added as well. I personally believe we can change the way our kids interact with technology by teaching them, guiding them and setting the example. It is a very powerful tool. I am sorry for this and it is unfortunate, but many parents fail to set a good example for their kids. Social media is out of control. We need to regain control by teaching them while we are still cool. I want my children to communciate with me and their teachers. Their friends, as cool as they are, are not the people to go to for advice, but that is a lesson everyone must learn for themselves. Hopefully, our children have that figured before middle school. If we wait until late elementary, it will be too late.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  31. Corey

    And also, another thing: if your a mother of two, maybe you shouldn't have "It's wine-o'clock somewhere" pictures on your account. Be a role model, lead by example!

    June 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • MD

      I agree, it's kind of sad that you put inappropriate things on facebook and then you want your kids not. It's kind of like saying, "Hey, even if I do bad things, you shouldn't" It's just being a hypocrite.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • MD

      I agree, it's kind of sad that you put inappropriate things on facebook and then you want your kids not to. It's kind of like saying, "Hey, even if I do bad things, you shouldn't" It's just being a hypocrite.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • diegohomans

      Corey, MD - That's laughable. Surely you recognize that there are things quite appropriate among adults that are not appropriate for children. If not, then your adult lives must be woefully reduced.

      Should adults never drink because children can't? Should we avoid voting so that our children don't vote before 18?

      June 7, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  32. Corey

    OH MY GOD! THIRTEEN YEAR OLDS ON FACEBOOK NOW? THIS IS SOMETHING WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE! I MEAN, IT'S NOT LIKE THEY EVER lie about their age or anything.

    Look, i won't tell anybody how to parent, but your kids will get on facebook. We live in an age where the kids today are SURROUNDED by computers, and you tabooing it will make social networking all the more alluring to them. Allowing access and monitoring it, so that facebook doesn't have the "i'm a big kid" factor attached to it might not be such a bad idea.

    June 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  33. Lou Cypher

    Actually, Heather, your kids will do anything they want and there is nothing you can do about it.

    The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you can learn how to do real parenting instead of just bullying.

    June 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • -

      You are the example of what is wrong with children today.

      June 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  34. oneforall777

    If the author doesn't want her child on Facebook until age 13, then she herself should set the example and come off the silly site. It's such a waste of time, just pick up the phone or talk face to face, if you can spend 20 minutes on social media, you can spend 20 QUALITY minutes face to face. Stop being hypocritacal and show your child you don't NEED Facebook!

    June 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • InVT

      Just because you are too ignorant to use Facebook efficiently and find it a waste of time doesn't mean others don't use it productively.
      Just because you do something one way doesn't make it the right or only way.

      June 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  35. Janet Abercrombie

    As a 5th grade teacher in a 1:1 school, I know that students are "social" via Skype and Google docs/chat.

    If parents want to give their kids a social media option, I'd recommend one around reading. BiblioNasium is in Beta test right now. It allows "classes" to be created so that kids can share their reading "shelves." It look much like Shelfari – but doesn't require kid login. I wrote more about it: http://wp.me/p1Dq2f-Dh

    Janet | expateducator.com

    June 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • diegohomans

      Biblionasium, Shelfari, why do they give them such unfortunate names? Didn't anyone ask, Is that kid-friendly? And what kid wants to go on a "shelfari"? Hey, did that kid just roll his eyes?

      June 7, 2012 at 8:00 am |
      • Janet Abercrombie

        Nope. The whole class was pretty excited. http://wp.me/1Dq2f

        June 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  36. Chef

    I say let kids have accounts and let parents monitor those accounts and teach kids about the web. Children will need to be ble to use the internet and be web savy in the future, because they have a facebook accoubt does not mean they wont still go out and play with friends, (honestly facebook becomes pretty boring after the first week) . Why not supervise children on-line and be aware of what they are seeing online. The online world mimics the real world to a certain degree wouldnt you rather know what your child is being exsposed to and who his friends are then be blind to it. His friends from the playground will be the ones communicating to them on FB wouldnt you want to know who those children are. The web has some places that need to be avoided just like the real world why not teach your children what places to avoid. As long as parents monitoir what there children are doing on facebook I think some good could come out of it. You would not let your child roam alone through a strange town alone why would the web be any different?

    June 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • marce

      You can teach kids about the web without giving them a Facebook account. My kids are on the web every day doing research for school homework and we have had many talks about internet safety, etc...

      June 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  37. marce

    My kids are 14 and 12 and are not allowed to have a Facebook account until they are 16. They are not mature enough to handle what is posted on Facebook between tween/teen "friends". Too much bullying going on and vulgarity! I'd rather they get together with their friends and talk face to face and develop social skills.

    June 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • AMcCaffrey

      There's no vulgarity when they talk face to face?

      June 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Matt

      Thanks for being sensible...... most of these other "let your kids do what they want because they are lazy parents" are the problem with society today!!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  38. atom

    my cusin 2 year old got her own Facebook and my brother kid that is 2 and half years old got his own Facebook

    June 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  39. like being in the dark?

    Does anyone ever do any research on adolescence? Kids are not equipped emotionally or mentally to handle the things that FB and other social media sites offer. We have a whole generation growing up that are not able to cope with negative feelings. Why not let your kids enjoy their childhood instead of facing the crap that's out in this world. Perhaps Mr. Zuckerberg will look at things differently when he has kids. Until then, he will take advantage of them just as pedophiles do.

    June 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  40. Ted

    A world without Facebook would be great.Lets get back to the basics.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  41. Reality

    Yeah, don't allow kids to get to know Facebook while they are still innocent! Let them use the service only when they are 13 and bursting with hormones, so that their inexperience with the program will lead to them making the biggest mistakes of their lives while fueled by the energy of hitting puberty!

    June 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • like being in the dark?

      You would be the parent who says it's okay for their child to drink at home because at least you would know where he was. I actually think the age should be 16, not 13. You are right about the raging hormones at 13. By 16, at least they don't trust EVERYONE.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  42. Liz

    Kids do not belong on FB. They belong with real-life friends in clubs, sports, after-school get-togethers, and with family. Don't let another generation waste its life on a superficial medium for "interacting" with other human beings.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Jules

      Um, it's amazing how kids have the magical ability to both be socially active AND use a computer. OMG

      June 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  43. sheri

    My son is 12 and has been begging for a FB account. We have not allowed him to have it. Not soon after he did begin to get bullied in the 6th grade. Facebook was a big part of the problem. I say the age should be raised to 15 or 16. It has created many issues for my son as kids posted videos (of my son) and it spread like wildfire. Any parents contemplating this should think twice about it. Also the X-box has also been a problem. The kids can bully through the gaming. We removed it from the house for an extended period of time.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Fred Ward

      sounds like your kid is a bit of a puss.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
      • like being in the dark?

        and you seem like the bully. Does it make you feel big?

        June 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
      • diegohomans

        You, Fred, are a juvenile and a bully, regardless of your age.

        June 7, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Prettygal

      I have a son as well. Facebook, texting, gaming, are all a WASTE of time. If any parents out there allow their kids to do these things to "keep up" with the "average" kids...... well, your kids will turn out average. Talk about MIND ROT.... and folks wonder why companies are looking all over the world for the best brains.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • Dan

        I gamed my entire childhood (still do) and had no problem staying active and engaged with friends. I'm 23, working on my masters, dating an awesome girl, and living on my own. Restricting your child's access to things like gaming and social media will only make them less able to manage their time responsibly when they go off to college.

        June 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • tony

      sheri,

      time to let your son get punched in the face. he will endure, adapt – and become a stronger person

      June 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Touch luck

      Sounds liek your sons a wussy. He needs to learn to ignore hurtful comments and take action against those who cant keep there mouth shut. Back in my day, if someones tongue kept flapping it was met with force from my fist. Stopped the "bullying" almost immediately, amazing how fast people correct themselves after there parents fail to teach them.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  44. ConcernedParent

    I totally agree with the article.

    We are desocializing ourselves with these "social networks." I often see kids spending hours in front of a computer screen – what a waste. I love technology, but not when it interferes with proper development.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  45. JengoFenDango

    They should set aside an island for people that want to live like cavemen who fear websites

    June 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • James

      You must be 12 years old. Did you read the article? She's not anti-internet; she just doesn't want her children to lose real life skills because they're spending all their time staring at a computer screen.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • NIck

      Did you not read the article? She likes websites but sees the negative effects. If you think the internet cures all perhaps we should put you and the rest of your ilk on an island and let you facebook yourselves stupid.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  46. Curtis

    Yes they will. They'll just hide it from you, thereby getting into more trouble because rather than teaching them about the world you'd rather pretend it didn't exist.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  47. bob

    If I were the author I wouldnt want my kids seeing my facebook either. You should spend your time teaching the kids right from wrong instead of trying to hide all of the low quality crap in the world. remember you want always be around to keep the kids off the computers and in the dark so teach them to think for themselves now.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  48. irony of ironies

    My kids won't be on a CNN blog thread anytime soon. Too many trolls.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  49. JOSE (@MARINEUSMC0311)

    FACE BOOK CAN BE BAD FOR YOUR KIDS...WHY ?? KIDS CAN SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT YOUR KIDS AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW ABOUT IT. MOST KIDS CAN'T DEAL WITH IT CAUSING THEM TO TAKE THEIR LIFE..MANY KIDS DONE THAT ALREADY ..PARENTS SAY NO.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  50. JOSE (@MARINEUSMC0311)

    PARENTS PLEASE KEEP YOUR KIDS OUT OF FACE BOOK..THEY ARE JUST GOING TO FIND TROUBLE..

    June 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  51. my comment

    Good for her! So glad some parents actually stand up and raise their kids with some discipline. Parenting is a tough job and it's refreshing to see a parent who doesn't give into everything her child wants all the time. Other parents should also anticipate their young kids maybe wanting a fb account in the future to socialize or play games. Then they'll be prepared to handle it, talk to the child about it and wait til they're 13 or older..

    June 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Matt

      well said!!! Children need to be guided and dont know what is best for them!!! people...... stop being raised by your children and instead parents u make the rules!!

      June 7, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  52. SparkBunny

    No. Absolutely not. I am not on facebook, i never wanted to be, and i cannot be convinced to be. The second my son asks for a computer, the answer is no. I watched my brother waste his life away in front of the computer in his room. Facebook is no better. People waste their lives away watching for status updates that are truly completely meaningless. I have no problem telling my kid to go outside and play, meet his neighbors, walk to a park. If not for the need to save certain files and pictures, we wouldn't even have computers at our house anymore. It's faster to look anything up on our smartphones. Which my son will not be eligible for until he's driving. That's when i got one, and i see no need for a "tween" to have one. Or an 8 yr old, like my niece. Setting boundaries is not about "owning" your children. It's about steering them in a direction where you might, god forbid, be proud of them when they grow up. I find very few things on facebook that would make me proud of the people posting on it.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • paulronco

      Your gratuitous. Use of periods. To get your point across. Is aggravating as hell.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • SparkBunny

        That's ok, i'm sure your run-on sentences are also aggravating as hell. Glad i could make my point to you. I call that a win.

        June 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Liz

      Wonderful philosophy! Good parenting.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Dan

      "we wouldn't even have computers at our house anymore. It's faster to look anything up on our smartphones." I can't even begin to comprehend the level of fail exhibited in this post...

      June 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Tough luck

      I apologize that your brother chose to use his free time to entertain himself with which you saw it as "wasting away", but keeping your kids from the technological world is not a very bright idea. Not only by the sound of things you seem out of date, but now your pulling your kids down with you. Your children need to have skills to input data electronically sufficiently. The world is going paperless, job/college applications are almost strictly online now, online signatures are becoming more common, security certificates are VERY common on corporate systems and learning to press "accept" in the appropriate time and not infecting the computer every 5 minutes is a desirable skill in the corporate world unless you prefer your kids having a "shovel ready" job. Your time has passed and the average household has 3 computers at a minimum, and it isnt for show.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  53. sarahh

    I don't want to see little kids on facebook. Not only is cyber-stalking a concern, but cyber-bullying from "friends" is also worrisome. Plus, other adults in a family may have different ideas about what links/images/comments are appropriate for kids to see. It's the internet. Some things that are seen cannot be unseen. I don't think kids should have to deal with that yet.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  54. d

    Facebook now is for losers craving attention. Why else would you post junk about your kids for no reason other than to illicit remarks about how great or cute your kid is. If they are not close enough friends to email them photos of what you did, chances are nobody cares anyway. You kid isn't special, your kid is no cuter than anyone else s and your kids are not going to be professional athletes when they grow up.

    Better yet, think about those "cute" photos you posted of your kid doing something stupid and the fact it is now out there for all eternity. You think your 13 yr old version of that 2yr old you have right now wants everyone to see that photo of them potty training, or picking their nose?

    June 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Rinda

      I will never think anything my child does at 2, 'stupid', i will share with my friends and family what i like, & if you don't like it, or happen to criticize it( all over the internet for you own selfish ways) IDC. you are nothing more than i self-absorbed self-monger that doesn't like their fb 'friends', if you don't like them/their posts, delete.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • irony of ironies

      Glad we got that straight. Have you heard of ethos? You don't have it.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  55. mae

    My 16 year-old had a friend that made a page for her. She was on it once and said its stupid. Never logged on again. My 13 year-old doesn't want one. I don't have one. Guess what? Don't miss it all. If I want to see what a friend is up to I actually pick up the phone and place a call or send an email.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  56. Dan

    facebook will sell out you childrens lives to the government, just as they do yours via backdoor access and data tracking.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  57. azlatingirl

    honestly do not think children should be allowed on FB. What purpose do they have on there? They have cell phones, they go to school, and they hang out with friends. FB was originally for adults getting connected with old friends, family, etc. and now it is just dumb. It is a great way for perverts to have access to children. Way to go FB!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  58. Virginia Mom

    I find Facebook to be completely boring and a waste of time. My tween children definitely don't need to be on it. Giving children a facebook account is just setting them up for problems. I am so sick of hearing about parents complaining that their children are being bullied online, etc. Maybe if they stepped up to the plate and did something about it (such as not allow them to have these accounts), this stuff wouldn't be happening. If I don't feel I need Facebook in my life, I certainly don't think my children do. I'd rather them be reading books, playing outside, and talking IN PERSON with their family and friends! My children do well academically and socially. Children do not need these online sites to be happy and socially accepted nowadays.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  59. sarryonasdad

    Really? Are you that lazy of a mother that you can't take the extra steps? My 12 year old has a fb account. I have her password. She is not allowed to delete anything, or the account is deleted. My page is hidden from her, as in she can't see anything I post, or anything I am tagged in.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Chibs

      Not allowing her child does not equate to lazy parenting, it equates to effective parenting. All you've done is teach your child they need to go with what everyone else has done and her parents will buckle to whatever they ask. Kids 13 and under really have no reason to be using social media, they hardly have social lives at that point. Who's to say your own 12 year old won't make an extra account behind your back? Kids are smart, if they want to do it, they'll find a way. Be a parent, not their friend. =3

      June 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
      • Carl

        You're exaggerating. Around 80% of the people in my age group use facebook and I never have any problems like that. At any rate, if parents have to tell their kids not to do something it should at least be something that the kid really shouldn't be doing like stealing or something. Not trying to manage their own life for them, telling them they can't do something the majority of adults do anyway.

        June 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Carl

      Jesus Christ. Stupid parents. Leave your kids alone and stop attempting to dictate everything in their lives. Their your children, that doesn't mean you know what's best for them. Chances are, they know better than you.

      Facebook isn't going to lead your child to develop no interpersonal skills or not be able to observe proper body language.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • NOYB

        MANY of my friends over the age of 35 have lost their interpersonal skills which I can only attribute to FB. And they ALREADY had them! This mom is absolutely doing the right thing.

        June 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • Alan

        What a parent decides for their child is none of your business.

        June 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • Carl

        It is entirely my business. As much my business as it is the parent's. Parents don't own their children and they should only make decisions for their children when their children are incapable of it.

        June 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Christopher

        I know a lot of people who can't sit through lunch or a meeting without updating their FB profile or sending a message to someone on it. They have trouble maintaining eye contact and focus when their phone starts to buzz. I would definitely call that a lack of interpersonal skills, if not downright antisocial behavior.

        June 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • Matt

        "chances are they know better than you" ........... so you are telling me that kids know better than responsible adults? wow. what planet are you from?

        June 7, 2012 at 1:20 am |
      • diegohomans

        Carl, you are woefully unclear on the roles of parents and children. Your (appropriately, or at least commonly) child-like understanding makes me both smile and shake my head.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:41 am |
      • diegohomans

        Carl,

        RE your "Parents... should only make decisions for their children when their children are incapable of it."

        Being "incapable" of making a decision doesn't mean they just can't decide. Oh, sure they can. It means they can't always make GOOD decisions. And that there, Carl, is why they HAVE parents.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Angie

      So you told your child it was okay to lie about her age in order to get an account?

      June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • Carl

        Oh no, lying about your age to get a facebook account. The worst possible sin.

        June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • diegohomans

        So, Carl. How about lying about your age in this case? At 14, you say you're 18 to get onto adult dating sites. Explain the difference to me.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • azlatingirl

      I am surprised you give your kid that much credit. I am sure she has another account either on FB or somewhere else. Kids are great at hiding stuff and know how to create new accounts on their own. I do not think it is fair that you can see her page and she cannot see yours. Is it because you probably have inappropriate comments or pics? If you have kids on FB fine, but do not try to hide what is on there because that is pointless. It is like giving a kid a lollipop and telling them not to eat it.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Canadian Mom

      I am with you on this. My perspective is that you are better teaching them how to use the tools appropriately and watching for the dangers than trying to keep them out and have them go on on the sly. I think the bullying thing is real, however, and sometimes accidental. Kids post things without realizing the impact of their words. ( I only wish they would use more of them (i.e. use it as a tool for practicing literacy).

      June 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  60. Jeremy

    Sometimes we are so focused on what can go wrong that we fail to see what can happen when things are done right.

    http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/06/05/facebook-children-under-13-years-old

    June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  61. stateschool

    Sure they won't. Nor will they smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, experiment with drugs, get body piercings, get tattoos, or look at Internet p#rn. They will, in fact, never once engage in any form of dangerous or illicit behavior. Sure.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • w

      I don't understand why so many people posting responses on here are so adament about their children exposing their lives online. Not allowing children to browse the internet is in no way keeping them in the dark ages, the fact of the matter is other than school work what could elementary aged kids possibly need to see?

      The whole argument of, "they are already doing it behind your back" is equally ridiculous and if you found out your child is setting up an online profile behind your back you should be punishing them. That would be like saying, well my 10 year old is smoking so I would rather have them do it in front of me than behind my back...

      June 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • teedeezy

        @w Actually, the there is a lot of very beneficial content on the web for children. Sites and information that can help them with their schoolwork, help them learn at a speed that is likely much faster than they would if they relied solely on our educational system, and can help them grow as individuals (both socially and intellectually).

        The key is to be involved as a parent (like most of the people here are suggesting) and to moderate what they see and who they interact with: Not to cut them off and try to lock them away in a box (which will likely accomplish nothing but fueling their growing disdain for you).

        Furthermore, the analogy of allowing kids to smoke and drink (while quite dumb) should be treated no different. Just like with anything else you speak to them about it and try to instill in them the good values and morality they need to help them make positive decisions. They won't be under your wing forever.

        June 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • w

      really? 10 year olds are getting boozed up before they go get that sweet new tat? Im sure after the fresh new arm sleeve they are going to go rip some bowls too.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  62. Greg

    i meant to add to my post that i did not let me kids have facebook til they were 13. anyone younger than that should not have it. 8 year old kids DO NOT need facebook. kids just have a hard time hearing the word no. i mean my kids don't have an ipod or an iphone either. they complain, but sorry kids, your not getting one :)

    June 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  63. Greg

    It's like saying i won't let my kids go out alone anywhere. I'm just gonna keep them in the yard.

    They need to learn about what the REAL world is like. Why not use the internet to help your kids become street smart. Or in this case INTERNET SMART. I have set the Facebook accounts up for both my kids and I used it as a way to explain to them about cyber criminals who only want to prey on them. I'm in charge of all their security settings etc. and I have instilled trust in them. If they screw around with the settings, I will know, and the consequences are huge. Their computer privileges will be gone, period. Having a computer in the house is not a right. Through this they are way more responsible when they are on the computer.. Kids are way smarter than you think. Get out of the glass bowl.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Heather Chapman

      Sounds like you're doing the right thing. When my son gets older I'll set up the same kind of system. But for now he's too young for his own account, so I'm teaching him about internet safety a bit at a time and waiting til he has a bit more common sense.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  64. Renee

    Why do a 8 yrs need 2 be on FB we r getting away from "talking 2 people on the phone hearing there voice, just like texting they wether tx then calling.I had 2 learn to tx just 2 hear from my kids sometime Ill call cant get them but as soon as I tx hear from them.Im in my fifty just got on Fb to keep up with the time.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  65. Susan

    I'm happy that my older kids are on facebook and that our accounts are linked thru our friendship status. Sometime I don't want to sound like I'm bugging them but want to know how they're doing- so I check their facebook. It's like spying almost, and that's why I got on facebook in the first place. I can see what they're up to, see if the one in college is doing any crazy stuff, etc. I keep my mouth shut, of course, less I be "unfriended", but I love the parental spying aspect of facebook. Just sayin'.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • HeeHaw

      Ugh. If you don't have an open relationship with your adult child and are still helicoptering, get ready for some serious alienation. Soon.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  66. babs

    Never joined FaceBook and never will. My life, your life, and the lives of other schlubs are just not that interesting. As for children, there is too much potential for harm to allow them to participate in this fad.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  67. Derrick

    My child has an account... I have access to his account, so I didn't need to wait for Facebook to add a feature... I don't say or do things on Facebook that he doesn't already know I say or do as I don't allow my child to think I'm a supreme being...

    June 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  68. C

    Not going to keep my kids in the dark ages like this lady, but I will monitor and explain things to them.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  69. phillyguy215

    Since I am 40 years old and child-free, im glad i will never have to be bothered with such concerns.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Craig

      you are probably a child molester anyways to whats it matter to you????

      June 7, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • diegohomans

      Well, thanks for playing.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  70. Anne

    I applaud your ideals, but have to agree with the majority. Your child probably already has an account (from which you are blocked so you cannot see it) & whatever makes you think that 13 year olds are trustworthy? When mine was 5, she passworded my computer on me. Yours, born 20 years later, is probably at least as computer savvy.

    One way you can check to see if your child has already set up an account is to try searching for his/her friends and check their friend lists for a familiar face. Good luck!

    June 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  71. Seyedibar

    Facebook is a great site and a fun tool, but you'd have to be a complete dolt to let a child have an account. It makes about as much sense as giving your kid a cellphone.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • teedeezy

      Actually giving your child a cellphone could very well save their life if they run into one of those crazed lunatics that you all are so scared they will meet someday (And, btw they're everywhere, not just on FB).

      And, like I said before teaching them the positive and negative aspects of a site like Facebook and the Internet as a whole, as well as, ensuring you moderate their activity in a way both you and they are comfortable with is the best way to prepare them for the real world. The one the already live in, and will continue to live in once their old enough to browse the Internet on their own.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Kylee

        Why would a kid under 13 need a cell phone? Where exactly are you expecting them to be where they're unsupervised or without access to a phone? Even if they disobey and wander off somewhere with friends, I promise you at least one of their fellow delinquents has a cell phone they can borrow.

        They're not driving. They're at school all day (where there are phones) or maybe at a friend's house (where there's a phone). Please, tell me what this life-saving scenario is?

        June 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  72. LookWithin

    I agree with Heather – accept for the 13 years old part. I will keep the little ones away as long as humanly possible...like until they're 30. :)

    June 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  73. teedeezy

    Yes! Because 13 year olds are trustworthy, just based off the fact that they are 13. And your son would never go behind your back and sign up for an account at a friends house. You're so enlightened. Give me a break.

    Best to teach your children about how to responsibly handle themselves in an online environment from an early age than try and deny them access to it by fear-mongering them into lying to you about the fact that they're going to access it anyway. Newsflash...the Internet isn't going anywhere and you should teach your kid about the how to use it in a positive manner, rather than "Um Facebook and the Internet is bad, umkaay." Because that's the amount of respect you'll get from your deprived kid, about as much as Mr. Garrison.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Chibs

      And in retrospect, no matter how many times you tell your child the do's and don'ts of the internet, if they have access to it, they will do it anyway if they wish to. And then the parent punishes their child and the cycle starts all over again.

      FURTHERMORE!! Seriously.. if you're going to try and use pop culture characters and gimmicks to look savvy, at least get it right. Mr. Mackey puts 'mkay' at the end of his sentences, mkay?

      June 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • teedeezy

        @Chibs That will inevitably happen yes. Which is why you should teach them the best you can and prepare them for what they'll encounter when the are online.

        And, I haven't watched South Park in years. That show jumped the shark a good 6 years ago, so pardon my misquote.

        June 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Fear Mongerer

      You sound like someone who does not have children nor do you sound like someone who has ever had to take the responsibility of an adult. Setting limits and encouraging children to behave responsibly is part of parenting. Limiting someone from using the internet or parts of it does not deprive them, it teaches them discipline. Did you always get that cookie you asked for? Did you always get that toy you wanted? And respect? You would disrespect your parents for trying to teach responsibility and discipline?

      June 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • Teedeezy

        That shows how bad you are at jumping to conclusions, I guess. I do have one child and she is one of the most well-rounded and intelligent kids anyone could ever hope for. Because I treat and teach her with respect and she gives respect back. We have a very good relationship.

        I teach her to make intelligent choices based off the good and bad things that exists in the world around her. So, when she does go to a school dance, sign up for a social networking site, or drink alcohol for the first time, she will do it with a good understanding of right and wrong.

        June 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • teedeezy

        @Fear Mongerer Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that I'm in my mid-30's, put myself through college including two graduate degrees, and have a very successful career. So, I think I qualify as an adult. I sure do have grown up problems...mortgage, car payments, the whole lot.

        June 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Heather Chapman

      We agree, then. I said in my article that I don't want him to have an account until he is 13 AND trustworthy. He will have to earn that trust. So far, he has. I'm teaching him about internet safety a little at a time–just as you would anything else.

      Of course it's possible that he could sneak behind my back and lie about it. But he's a good kid, and I'm hoping he won't. We have a good relationship, and thus far he trusts me when I tell him he's not ready for something.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • teedeezy

        Then I owe you an apology. I read that as 13 and trustworthy. You can see where that would confuse me.

        I'm glad we agree on that point at least. But do you actually think that it's the responsibility of FB to protect your children online (see CBC ref)? Granted they should have some minor accountability as a corporation. But the ultimate responsibility falls on the parents of the children who use the service.

        One can't legitimately say to a soda company, "Hey, you made a softdrink. Then my kid got fat and died because he drank too many. So I'm suing you for damages." Doesn't work that way. The company provided a product and it was that hypothetical parent's responsibility to make sure their kid didn't drink 10 a day. They can't blame the soda company for that. Just like you can't expect FB (who provides a service) to go out of their way to make sure your child isn't doing or seeing anything inappropriate. That's your responsibility. Sure, they should restrict and eliminate highly inappropriate and/or illegal content as soon as humanly possible (which they already do), but they can't protect your kid from everything you don't want them to see.

        June 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  74. Captain Underpants

    Unless you are with your kid 100% of the time, you can't guarantee they won't be on facebook. Your playground? You don't want them to see records of you doing irresponsible things? Maybe, and this might be a crazy thought here... don't do irresponsible things? You can determine who sees what, by the way.

    And if you don't want them clicking on dancing coins, perhaps you should wise up and get an ad blocker for your browser. They don't cost anything.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Heather Chapman

      Yup, I know you can control who sees what ("what" meaning "perfectly reasonable adult behavior).. But as I said in the article, I would like to know what kind of barriers you can put in between linked accounts.

      And it wasn't my computer, or he'd never have seen a sibgle ad. Mine's loaded with NoScript and AdBlocker.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  75. Kim Narmore

    If you believe in Santa Clause, you should not be on facebook.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • HeeHaw

      That is a perfect comment. Until your kids are rational and can determine and predict consequences, exposure to FB should probably be managed.

      I am a grown up, not on FB, and don't find myself very preoccupied about what others are thinking or doing. I remember being very preoccupied as a teen, so my parents limited my phone calls and sleepovers, just to give me a reprieve from peerdom and a chance to read, think, write, draw and develop an interior life. For that I am thankful.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  76. Hooligan

    I remember years ago reading an article about how many people (college kids) were switching to Facebook because of it's age requirements.

    Facebook is not MEANT for young kids, it's meant for the 18 and up crowd. You saying your kids wont be using facebook is like a parent saying they wont be allowed to go to a strip club.

    HERP A DERP

    June 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  77. Joana

    Being born in the 90's I have seen the growth of internet and how it has changed my life. I don't want my kids on facebook until 13. I know how easy it is to access anything. I grew up with parents who didn't (and i will face it; still don't) know how to work the computer, specifically privacy settings. However, I was a good kid and didn't go looking for trouble but more and more kids are having ADD and ADHD thus causing them to get increasingly curious.
    I agree with the writer saying that children don't know what they are doing on the internet. There is so much on the world wide web that you can't stop kids from getting to them. I know even in grade school I would still find ways to get around firewalls and blocks online at school. If I, a kid who grew up with the internet, can access certain things with not that much knowledge then kids who are having internet on their phones can do whatever they please. Eventually it will not be stoppable.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  78. Paula D.

    Before posting ANYTHING to Facebook, prepare yourself in the following way: Close your eyes and imagine you're standing on stage in front of a whiteboard. In the front row of the audience are sitting your pre-teen son, your teenage daughter, your spouse, their relatives, your neighbors, your parents and grandparents, and their friends. They are all intently waiting for you to write something on the board. Okay, pick up your marker and begin.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Chibs

      I admit it is a good practice to think about what you post on the internet before making that post, but on the other hand, parents shouldn't be reduced to just parents. They have lives and interests and need social time with their adult friends just as much as children need with their friends. A child shouldn't be given access to everything their parent says and does, and the parent shouldn't stop living because they give in to the child wanting in on an overglamourized commodity.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  79. Hohnel

    My Son is now seventeen and has had an account for a few years. He is in many after school activities and it's almost required here. That's how they communicate times and places with each other. Though he did say something to me the other day that made me both worry and shake my head. He was scheduling something with a friend and I asked him why don't you just call him. He said but this is faster..... I was like faster than talking ??? He stopped and thought about it and laughed...

    June 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  80. Freddo

    So ... don't let your kid get on FB.

    What I can't figure out is why you think anyone cares about how you raise your kids.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Buck

      You entirely missed the point of this article.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • LL

      how one child is raised effects others. If you were to raise your child without much supervision and your child turns into a bully becasue of that and bullies and beats the crap out of my child then directly effetcs me and my family. Its harder than people think to not let their child on FB. Parnets are working 40 work weeks and have to cook dinner and have to do laundry which makes it extremely hard to watch their children 24/7. Those moments the child is alone is a prime time for the child to create their own account and log into it when nobodys around. This article has alot of legit reasons as to why facebook should not be open to those under 13.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  81. Whitney Pannell

    Heather, I hear you. Instagram has seemed to satisfied the kids need for Facebook. I am beginning to disdain instagram now.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  82. D

    "I allowed my son to play a browser-based game the other day. I was right next to him, but it wasn't five minutes before he squealed that he would win a million dollars if he could click on the dancing coin. I managed to grab his hand before he did it and lecture him about deceptive ads and viruses, but what if I hadn't been right there?"

    He would have been a millionaire?

    June 6, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Paula D.

      Next thing you know, he'll be ordering viagra....on your credit card.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • stupidamerican6443752

        Beware of carpal tunnel :)

        June 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  83. JimR

    Wow, I was expecting to read an article from another facebook lemming, but that was very concise, unbiased and loaded with common sense. Good article. My kids are grown so I do not have to worry about them, but facebook is strife with problems that make it very kid unfriendly.

    But now that you mention your kid instinctively going to click on a link, it has given me an idea to write a plugin to let a parent select regions of the screen where the mouse can go, and where it can't. Actually, it should be implemented from facebook itself if they follow through with the age thing, but they more than likely won't due to advertisers. Once again, good article.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  84. pwnagepimp

    "I don't want my son to see my name tagged in a picture that says 'It's wine o' clock somewhere!' "

    Sooooo.... why behave that way if you don't want your child to see it?

    If you aren't comfortable with your child knowing about the life you lead or choices you make then you should reconsider making those choices in the first place.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • feelfree

      That's just ridiculous, self-righteous talk. Kidding with her adult friends about a glass of wine doesn't make her a lush/bad role model/bad parent. And, quite honestly, children don't have to be privy to everything their parents say or do. In fact, they shouldn't.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • AustinIsFull

      So out of the entire article, that was the only thing you focus on?

      June 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Dethbeak

      "Sooooo.... why behave that way if you don't want your child to see it?

      If you aren't comfortable with your child knowing about the life you lead or choices you make then you should reconsider making those choices in the first place."

      This from someone with the screen name of "pwnagepimp"?

      wow.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  85. Amanda

    I don't think Facebook needs to be blamed, I'm not saying I do not agree with you. I am a mother myself. But our kids in this time have access to everything we don't want them to view anyways. If you are there or not, they will find the way to access anything and everything they are interested in. In a way, facebook is a little safer because there are innocent games and you can have access to the account yourself to see his/her's activities.. I truely believe that we need to speak to our kids, not scold them about all the right and wrong things they have access to in our time. What is good to view and why, what is not and why...and if you click on this, what can happen to the computer. Now is a better time than ever to know what our children are doing by talking with them first...

    June 6, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  86. reality50

    I have ALWAYS felt Facebook or any social networking site is a disaster waiting to happen. I have never felt comfortable participating or posting even the most innocent comments or pictures. Definitely, children should not be exposed to any social networking site, because that's what they do, expose your children.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  87. Val Hessler

    Totally agree. Those of us who work in technology know better than to allow our kids' data to be out there to be misused...

    June 6, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • just another mom

      Exactly.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  88. jim8

    Never put anything in writing (especially on a social networking site) that you don't want someone to see.

    How dumb are these people?

    June 6, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  89. jim8

    All they have to do, and will do, is to walk over to the library or a friend's house, and open an account. They probably already have.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • JFF

      Of course they've made one already (they just got you in their BLOCKED list). They could make email accounts just for it. I'd rather have my kids to it to my face than them going behind my back. At least I can monitor what they are posting. I am not worried about inappropriate adult postings because I am setting a good example not LIKING or SHARING posts that are not good.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • Will S

        Sounds like you didn't do a very good job parenting if your 8-year old is in a situation where s/he can set up Facebook accounts and email accounts behind your back. Take charge, quit giving in.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • diegohomans

        Do you think letting her have a monitored account will keep her from wanting and making a secret one?

        June 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  90. annbransom

    Could not agree more. Parental responsibility and supervision will always play the most important role in protecting children online, but Facebook and other corporations do not need to make our jobs harder and need to consider the number of children who simply will not receive the supervision they need. Those children tend to be the most at risk for predation anyway.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  91. dottiewingo

    Great perspective, Heather! So proud of you!

    June 6, 2012 at 9:05 am |