Poll: Should kids younger than 13 be allowed to use Facebook?
Facebook is considering ways to give kids younger than 13 access to the social-networking site, according to a news report.
June 4th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Poll: Should kids younger than 13 be allowed to use Facebook?

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Should young children be able to use Facebook?

And if so, under what conditions?

Those are the questions bloggers and Twitter users are batting around the Internet on Monday following a news report saying Facebook is looking into ways it could let kids under the age of 13 use the site with parental consent.

Currently, Facebook bans children younger than 13.

Data from Microsoft Research and Consumer Reports, however, show that many kids use the site anyway, often with their parents' knowledge. A 2011 Consumer Reports survey found 7.5 million people younger than 13 use the site; nearly a third of 11-year-olds and more than half of 12-year-olds use Facebook with their parents' knowledge, according to a 1,007-person survey supported by Microsoft Research.

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

Proponents of lifting Facebook's under-13 ban say letting young kids on Facebook with the help of adults would allow them to use the social network more safely.

"Whether we like it or not, millions of children are using Facebook, and since there doesn't seem to be a universally effective way to get them off the service, the best and safest strategy would be to provide younger children with a safe, secure and private experience that allows them to interact with verified friends and family members without having to lie about their age," Larry Magid writes at Forbes.com.

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Filed under: Issues • Parents • Technology
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Amal Ibrahim

    Personally, I see no reason why children that young should be on Facebook or any other social media. Sometimes it seems adults don't know how to use social media properly, so what about kids? It's a dangerous place for kids and it essentially allows them to invite complete strangers into their lives. These people could be pedophiles or other dangerous individuals. And let's not forget about cyberbullying. What defenses do our kids have? They're too young to fully understand the consequences of seemingly innocent interactions with people. I agree with others who said they need to learn how to have face to face interactions with real people. When I was that age, we still played outside in the summer, going swimming and playing things like kickball or soccer. Whatever happened to kids being kids and wanting to do kid things?

    June 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  2. Nutmegthetuba

    As someone who's 19 years old, it's really weird to think that in only 6 years, what kids do after school has changed so much. When I was 13, I didn't have a cell phone (I wasn't allowed to have one), and facebook didn't even exist. I had an email address because I moved cities and wanted to keep in touch with my friends. After school every day, I did my homework, and then I went swimming with my friends, or we'd play soccer or something. Even now, there are so many things I'd rather do than sit on facebook all day. I guess there's nothing really wrong with it, but there are so many other things that are more worth doing... I just think that young people should learn early that quality time with friends is far better than just keeping up with them every now and then on some website.

    June 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  3. Jax

    What ever happened to the good old days where the kids had a childhood and enjoyed their age they're at? Go outside and play, ride a bike, jump on the trampoline, do something where your body is engaged in physical activities. All you young kids that are commenting on here about what is so wrong about it, lets take a look at your vocabulary and grammar. Do you even know what it's like to sweat from a little running outside? Kids these days can't even write a sentence without using abbreviations. Child obesity rates have jumped. It's all thanks to texting, Internet and facebook.

    June 15, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  4. H

    It is sad that so many people are willing to hand their freedom over to federal government so easily. If you don't want your kid on Facebook, don't let your kid on Facebook. Its not the government's place to make this decision for us. It is sad that in the past so many have died in the name of American freedoms that we now willingly hand over.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  5. Tween Us

    Tweens need parental involvement, on Facebook and otherwise. The proposed privacy controls would be good to have for anyone under 18, but they still aren't enough for me. My tween won't be joining anytime soon. http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2012/06/facebook-sees-dollar-signs-in-tweens/

    June 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  6. andy

    Doesn't the government already have enough control over us and how to raise our children?

    June 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  7. Heidi

    Children under 21 should not be allowed on fb. Fb was created for adults to reconnect so therefore if you are not after college age you shouldn't be on...maybe some kind of teen friendly only site should be created, with paid adult supervision hey kills two birds with one stone...it's child friendly & creates jobs!

    June 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • sjandrel

      No, FB was created by Harvard students in 2004 exclusively for college kids. Kids under 13 should definitely not be on FB, but we shouldn't extend the ban to high school and college aged kids who actually benefit from social networking.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  8. francine

    it's not like the world will end i mean i go on facebook and im only 11

    June 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  9. BrendaLea

    Children shldnt
    Be allowed on Fb but many are! I know of
    Some who have fb accts and have lied about
    Their age by adding 20 yrs
    To their birthdate. If they want to be on it
    They need close
    Parental guidence because there are adults in the
    World that cant
    Be trusted and
    Those creepy
    Weirdos may set up false accts that they set up
    So they can do
    Horrible things.
    Kids are trusting
    And too precious to be
    Bullying is also a
    Huge problem
    Not to mention
    A ton of other
    Potential dangers that they dont foresee.... Im an
    Adult and sometimes I even have to
    Guard my own
    Privacy and not
    Give out too much information
    Because of potential dangers. If I dnt
    Feel totally
    Safe a seven or
    8 yr old certainly
    Wldnt be.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  10. Emanon

    I don't think kids under 13 should be on it, but I also know most kids simply lie about their age when they sign up for it. As a parent, I try to monitor/control what my kids do online & adjust privacy/security for them, but they still are not always smart when it comes to clicking on ads or inadvertantly downloading things (if it's a ligitimate download, they are restricted anyway). My 15 y/o is on it, but my 12 y/o is not.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  11. gfsdfgfd

    Come on, whats the worst that could happen

    June 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  12. Concerned

    A 2011 Consumer Reports survey found 7.5 million people younger than 13 use the site; nearly a third of 11-year-olds and more than half of 12-year-olds use Facebook with their parents' knowledge, according to a 1,007-person survey supported by Microsoft Research.

    So this means that the parents of 7.5 million kids are not doing their jobs. This isn't a Facebook problem, this is a BAD PARENTING problem.

    June 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  13. greg

    I mean it depends on the kid and if their mature enough to handle Facebook because I've seen 9 year old`s use Facebook and their just not mature enough to handle it. I mean it was designed for college students. NOT KIDS!!!! But I mean some 12 year old`s are mature enough to handle the content

    June 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  14. darlenys

    i think some kids can be more responsible than others.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  15. kaitlyn

    i think kids should have facebook. kids can also socialize like adults.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Goducks73

      Why not also let them into adult locker rooms and bars?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  16. Goducks73

    If there is grass on the field...playball!

    June 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  17. melania

    Here's an idea... why not "allow" parents to decide what is permissible for their children?

    June 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Michele

      Because most parents aren't available. Most parents are working 2 jobs to survive in this economy. They are unaware if their 11 year old at home is face-booking with with someone who preys on children...for example. You can 100% for certain know your child isn't?

      June 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  18. Michele Stack

    I think you should create a junior face-book website. This would do many things – allow kids to have their own website. It would be easier to monitor and control by those in authority. If a "sick" adult attempts to enter the site trolling for kids for inappropriate contact – they would be easier to nail and put behind bars. You could monitor bullying on the site easier. It would cut down on numbers of people on adult face-book. There could be a time limit set by the parents allowing them to be on the site for a certain period of time at a certain time of day then site automatically kicks them out for 24 hours. It would eliminate the kids that see stuff only adults should see. I think it should be for 14 and under.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • beth

      Michele, I think Junior Facebook is a great idea, and the guidelines you described are great. Go for it!

      June 6, 2012 at 8:03 am |
      • Michele

        I honestly don't know how to do it. If I did – I would in a heartbeat. I have worked in individualized youth services where kids have become victims to all sorts of sick people. And honestly – most parents don't want/and believe that they have a good handle on their kids activities. Unfortunately, that is never the case 100% of the time. No one can monitor 100% of the time. We need to take the percentage that slips through and try to ease parents minds and help any way we can.

        June 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Michele

        Beth – started working on it as I typed the last note to you...we'll see where it goes.

        June 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Mark Raffo

      I very much appreciate your concern and agree with most of what you said, however, there is a huge problem with the following statement from your post:
      If a "sick" adult attempts to enter the site trolling for kids for inappropriate contact – they would be easier to nail and put behind bars.

      Unfortunately, no it won't..........there is a golden rule of safety when it comes to children on the internet........If children are communicating on the internet with anonymous people, they are not safe. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule.
      Go to safevilleusa.com and see their internet passport system that is about to be released.......that is the only way for children to be safe.......

      June 10, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  19. browntg

    What ever happened to parents parenting? As a parent, I know my child. I know facebook. I decide whether I think he/she should have an account and under what conditions. I have his password and check his page frequently. He has to get my approval before adding someone as a "friend". He has time limits and, like anything else to do with the computer unless it's schoolwork, he earns computer time once he's done chores, piano, homework, etc. I recently learned of a way to get notifications sent to me of any of his facebook activities and I will be implementing that. As far as the ads-they are bombarded with ads everywhere. That, again, is where parenting comes into play. Teaching about internet safety is part of that. To me, it's not facebooks responsibility to monitor what my child does or does not do online. That's my job.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  20. Dix

    Children posting private family matters online is dangerous to you and them. If adults can't control what they post why do you expect a child to be responsible? Adult supervision, you have got to be kidding. The parents could care less and don't want to take the time to monitor what the kids are doing.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  21. Mary

    Why not create a "kid" account that piggybacks on a parents account? That way the parents have control over the account at any given time, cannot be "defriended" or have things "hid" from the parents. Incoming and outgoing friend requests must first be "approved" by the parent, same with posting pictures or using applications. Parents would have ability to delete posts on their kids' wall, etc.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Jeremiah

      This would be a good idea Mary. However the fault lies with the kids creating an "adult" account. Without any age verification techniques on Facebook there would be no way to stop a kid from creating an account without the parent knowing (say at school or on their smart phone). Although perhaps this is what Facebook should do is create some sort of Age Verification protocol to stop kids from using Facebook prematurely.

      June 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
      • Dorothy

        I agree totally Jeremiah. After a weekend w/my nephew(12yrs old), I was shocked to see his profile(birthdate 1996). I was not FB savvy, but I'm catching on quick, thanks to him & this site. He also has a place of working, too! I just pray & hope his mom keeps her word to ban him from FB. I have to say, playing the game "words with friends" was fun, but that's it! The kids are out of control!

        June 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • beth

      Yes Mary, that is also a great idea.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  22. Jared

    No.. very bad idea... There are teens who use facebook and they are not mature enough themselves.. Parents who are for this are dumb, and should not have kids.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  23. hamsta

    not no but h3ll no. facebook is an adult social media tool. people like me realize how dangerous these social media sites can be even for adults. these sites can be even more dangerous than a computer virus. a computer virous can cause your bank account to evaporate but social networking can evaporate your job, your friendships, your marriage and your life.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I'm 14, and I'm friends with some younger kids on Facebook. They are kind of annoying and sometimes post annoying things, but I see no real harm to allowing kids to learn how to use the internet at an early age.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Anonymous

      The harm comes from not understanding how to act socially responsible online. With every click you make on Facebook, they know more and more about you, they are now selling it on to other businesses to make money to please their shareholders.

      I know it seems safe, but think twice before posting. – You'll find it much better when you move from school to school as you can keep up with friends, that's what I think you should be using it for to be honest.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  25. Social Engineering

    FB, Friends and Bullies. Children need to learn face to face people skills, as when I was a kid. A Facebook "friend" is just a gesture. It takes more real effort to make a real friend. Kids need to learn this. I don't like how kids now are glued to the computer and tv instead of sharing toys and tidings bikes or playing ball. Not only is their physical activity going down, so is the concepts behind making meaningful, lasting friendship. This is my opinion.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm |