Editor's note: Laura Sessions Stepp is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly with The Washington Post, who specializes in the coverage of young people. She has written two books: "Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both" and "Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children through Early Adolescence." She is a consultant to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Read another view from writer Heather Chapman, "My View: My kids won't be on Facebook any time soon."
By Laura Sessions Stepp, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Will elementary and middle school students soon be able to put up their own Facebook pages? It looks like it.
According to news accounts, Facebook is considering doing away with its rule that no one under age 13 may have a Facebook page. Cranky math instructors and tyrannical P.E. coaches must be at least a tad nervous at the thought of what the little darlings might post about them. But the change could be a good thing if it encourages a reasonable amount of parent involvement.
The things the rest of us do on Facebook - reveal what we had for lunch, post way too many photos of our kids and pets, comment on what Queen Elizabeth wore for her 60th anniversary jubilee - are considered too dangerous for 10-, 11-, or 12-year-olds to do, even if their "public" consists only of people they've invited to be their friends.
One result is that millions of pre-teens - 7.5 million, according to a Consumer Reports account last year - have established profiles on Facebook, some using fictitious names. Five million of them are younger than 10. What's most disturbing is that in many cases, parents have helped their kids circumvent the rules. What, pray tell, does that teach their children?
The parameters of the policy under consideration at Facebook are undetermined but would work something like PG-13 movies. One idea is that the child's page would be linked through the parent's page - a sidecar, if you will. Savvy parents would give their children as much privacy as possible even if wincing sometimes at what they saw. But they'd also have the opportunity to step in if they noticed something that was hurtful, dangerous or inappropriate.
Despite what some adults might think or read, teens, at least by their own account, are pretty responsible when it comes to social networking.